Justin Cody Fox – New Southern
While not an entirely distinctive voice Justin Cody Fox does have a good style & vocal approach to his blues rock that possesses a good pound of soul & that’s what makes the difference. North Carolina’s Justin offers 11-cuts on his 2nd LP New Southern (Drops June 23–Independent).
Produced by Audley Freed & Tommy Brothers with all songs written by Fox, it’s 42 minutes of high-test fueled performances by a blue-collar musician who writes from his own experiences. He avoids trying to bellyache too much about the state of the world.
The rockiest track is “Show Me Your Light,” with grinding guitar chords, snapping drums & the warm powerful vocals that are Fox’s signature. The approach is old-fashioned, but it works because it has life, it has octane in the notes & it’s done with skill. One listen to how Justin unleashes his lyrics through this tune is enough to sell the CD. There’s an inkling vocally of Murray Attaway of Georgia’s Guadalcanal Diary (“Always Saturday”), some Joe Henry, but also Marc Cohn, & an ounce of late-career Robert Hazard. All makes for entertaining music.
There are generous dips into vintage blues (“Walking These Blues”) that are wrestled from the history of Buddy Guy & Albert King but in the hands of Justin, it’s modernized, refreshed & refined into a mainstream-friendly blues jaunt.
Justin allows just enough of a country influence to colorize his music which expands his likeability. He’ll burn through some hot blues, but he’ll also play acoustic guitar & render a warm ballad with substance as he does on this “New Southern,” set. There’s enough variety in his repertoire to appeal to many ears.
Justin’s best vocal will be with “Living Ghosts” & “Have You Seen An Angel,” both are sonically exceptional. Like most albums released today much of the work is well-done, played with expertise & satisfying. There isn’t anything that will jar the senses or raise an eyebrow. But music like this clears the clutter in the brain – so, a glass of cold red wine with a quartered peach, a doobie or two with a Justin Cody Fox CD would be my prescription for relieving life’s baggage. Oh, don’t watch the news.
Highlights – “Living Ghosts,” “Take Me Home Virginia,” “18 Wheels,” “Show Me Your Light,” “That Ain’t Love,” “Walking These Blues” & “Have You Seen An Angel.”
Musicians – Justin Fox (vocals/guitar), Audley Freed (guitars), Tommy Brothers (vocals/guitar), David Morse (bass), Robert Kearns (bass/vocals), Seth Aldridge & Fred Eltringham (drums), Jen Gunderman & Rhett Huffman (keys) & Tarsha Murphy (vocals).
Color image courtesy of Justin from his YouTube site. CD @ http://www.justincodyfox.com/