Gold and the Sand
Roots rock revivalist Corey Crowder was another MySpace success story. The Georgia-raised singer/songwriter attracted over five million plays on his MySpace page after his songs were featured on prime-time television shows The Biggest Loser, One Ocean View, and MTV's The Real World. His mix of mature vocals and down-home guitar picking won the hearts of new and old listeners alike, all of whom seemed to acknowledge the influence of '60s and '70s soul and rock artists such as Van Morrison, Al Green, and CCR. Gold and the Sand is his first release with Tooth & Nail, locking in his sound with a surprisingly developed maturity both vocally and lyrically. The album is an achievement of impressive proportions for the 25-year-old artist, with an infectious energy that opens strong and never fades. "Southern Way," the first single, grooves from the first riff and opens into full-on melodic rock that channels the best work of Steve Winwood, Stevie Ray Vaughan, and even Eric Clapton. "Innocence" also drives with a natural force without going overboard. Other tracks — "Leaving You" and "Helpless Heart," for instance — are slower paced but no less intriguing. Few artists in this day and age can remain so appealing without sounding over-produced. Credit producer Aaron Sprinkle with knowing how to layer the textural shades of soul, rock, and folk with such vast storytelling. Without a doubt, Corey Crowder's roots rock is rich comfort food for the soul.