Forrest McCurren – Oh Me, Oh My
Missouri’s Forrest McCurren’s (acoustic guitar) musical gumbo consists of classic rock, vintage country & wonderful storytelling. All stirred gently on his debut LP recorded in Oklahoma that showcases this singer-songwriter’s live show energy.
More specifically, Forrest says his tunes live somewhere between Saturday night & Sunday morning – rowdy & seeking redemption. So, what we need to dissect is a well-recorded 38-minute CD with 10 songs that hopefully won’t duplicate the past as much as reinvent it.
The slow opener (which is brave) “Big Blue Space,” finds McCurren with a typical vocal accent that sparkles. He isn’t trying to sound like the singers on country radio. He has good pacing, lyrics & slips in a lovely harmony vocal by Margaret McCurren who also adds violin. Well-thought-out ballad.
Produced by Wes Sharon (bass/percussion) Oh Me, Oh My (Drops Aug 19–Independent) deserves major label attention if they leave him the hell alone to write & sing what he believes.
“Dime a Dozen,” continues in the unassuming country vocal but it’s his honeyed sadness that’s like a colorful fly on a fish hook. The song’s beautiful & lyrically clever, with no showboating & a minimum of cliches & Forrest manages to attract attention on 2-songs that are basically ballads. The musicians play smooth as velour – Dan Walker (keys/Hammond B3/Farfisa), Jimmy Paxton (drums/percussion) & Ryan Engleman (electric/acoustic guitars/pedal steel).
There’s an antique touch to some of Forrest’s songs, but none ring out as novelty or oldies. Everything is refreshed with effective playing, all performed tastefully. There’s a little touch of the wild Webb Wilder, but he’s definitely awash in a Sonny James tradition (“True Love’s a Blessing”) with a dash of Junior Brown – just a dash.
Forrest’s likable but needs to stay clear of country artist cliches or fall victim to the flavor of the month club. I say that because he’s good at what he does but country is notorious for not developing real creative country artists: the late Nanci Griffith, Lyle Lovett, k.d. Lang, Boxcar Willie & Michelle Shocked. Many have become famous & respected, but it was initially an uphill climb & took years. Forrest has the goods & his consistent quality is evident.
“Little Rock,” is simplistic but has the formula of success for country radio without being mainstream sweet. It’s another slow tune decorated with harmony vocals & jangling acoustic guitars. On “With a Little Luck,” Forrest rocks a little more with a cool drawl – nice touch & a bit suggestive. Quite an enjoyable collection.
Color photo: Ryan Strong. CD @ https://forrestmccurren.com/home
Enjoy our interview of Forrest McCurren, here: Interview: Forrest McCurren on the Overlooked World of Oh Me, Oh My