From the musically barren state of South Carolina comes a singer/songwriter named Corey Crowder who's music can only be described as timeless. Crowder's music manages to capture elements of the 60's and 70's while still maintaining relevance in the modern music world. With an emphasis on heartfelt lyrics that tell the story of his life and those around him, listeners are inevitably left with words that seem to tell their life story as well.
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Corey Crowder is different than those around him. Until his signing late last year, never before had the highly acclaimed label left their comfortable punk rock roots behind in such a way. Dance pop? Sure. But country? Southern rock? Tooth and Nail had entered an entirely new market.
What began as a surprising partnership between an established rock label and a relatively unknown acoustic musician from Greenville, South Carolina turned into one of the largest experiments in Tooth and Nail label history. Crowder's debut album, Gold and the Sand, features an eclectic and soulful mix of southern acoustic tunes that just might be one of the surprise albums of the year. Gold and the Sand is nothing but 45 minutes of a man pouring out his soul to the tune of his heart.
Musically, the album is rather impressive. In contrast to his earlier work, Crowder's arrangements are denser than ever before, still without abandoning the simplicity seen on his previous independent albums. His live band now plays a prominent role in the creation of his sound, it's hard to deny the talent that Crowder has.
It's clear that Gold and the Sand is a refreshing departure in itself, but how does the Corey Crowder experiment really fare as a whole? If anything, it should be given a chance. As the label debut of an aspiring and talented musician, Gold and the Sand reveals enough promise that it can be enjoyed even if it might be the first album of its kind in a large collection. The use of numerous guitars, horns and strings is impressive for a debut album.
Crowder proves that he is capable of many. He talks of love and life itself, although he rarely gets spiritual. But there is something about Crowder that's hard to ignore. Perhaps it's because he seems real, not like a rock star far removed from everyday life. Or maybe it's his versatility that is so relatable and enjoyable. No matter the reason, give Corey Crowder a chance. Tooth and Nail did, and it seems to have paid off.