The Country music genre is a broader church today than it’s ever been. Purists aren’t happy about the way other genres of music are influencing today’s generation of Country stars but it’s a natural progression that’s not really worth fighting against. Canadian singer-songwriter Cory Marks is one of the rising stars in the genre who is fusing Country with a harder rock edge, taking on the more Southern Rock-influenced Country artists out there. After scoring a hit with Outlaw & Outsiders (feat. Travis Tritt, Ivan Moody & Mick Mars), the stage is set for Cory to build on that moment with the release of his album Who I Am.
Cory comes out of the gate swinging with the raucous opening track Devil’s Grin. The blend of Country rhythms and crunching guitars is one that works well. This is music to blast out loud on a hot summer’s day and it’s made to be heard in stadiums and arenas. Outlaws & Outsiders follows, and it’s safe to say at this point that if your socks aren’t being rocked off, this album may not be for you. Determined not to be a one trick pony, Cory dials down the volume on the more sedate Good to Be Us, showing that (on the verses at least) he can do something a little more melodic. The song would fit perfectly in the modern Country radio landscape.
For the most part, Who I Am is balls-to-the-wall guitar-led anthems. It’s not hard to see why Cory is appealing to both the Country and Rock markets. He has a voice that contains plenty of grit but it has that twang that Country fans love. Songs such as Blame It on the Double and the unapologetic title track Who I Am require air guitar and singing at the top of your lungs, while Better Off is a big old anthem that is an obvious highlight. Another Night in Jail mixes acoustic verses with beat-driven choruses, showing off Cory’s strengths as vocalist with some impressive vocal riffs.
Bonus track, and sing-a-long anthem, She’s Hollywood is the penultimate track, leading into the acoustic version of My Whiskey Your Wine. My Whiskey Your Wine appears twice on the album – in its original form and as an acoustic version. It shows that without the production and the full band behind him, Cory can hold his own in a stripped-down environment. The song is the kind that will go down a storm with Country fans and it should be a standout moment in live shows, should we ever be able to attend any ever again!
Cory Marks is an artist with plenty of promise. He knows how to deliver big anthems and he has the vocal chops to pull it off. There’s a deeper artist underneath the bravado and you get glimpses of that throughout the record. As an introduction, Who I Am is everything you’d want from an album. The blend of Country and Rock is a winner for me and I’ll be blasting this out in the heat all summer.
Track list: 1. Devil’s Grin 2. Outlaws & Outsiders (feat. Travis Tritt, Ivan Moody & Mick Mars) 3. Good to Be Us 4. Blame It on the Double 5. Another Night in Jail 6. Who I Am 7. Drive 8. Better Off 9. My Whiskey Your Wine 10. Keep Doing What I Do 11. Out in the Rain (feat. Lzzy Hale) 12. She’s Hollywood (Bonus) 13. My Whiskey Your Wine (Bonus – Acoustic) Record label: Better Noise Music Release date: 7th August 2020 Buy Who I Am
Cory Marks is performing a free show for Destination Country on Sunday 9th August 2020 at 8pm BST. Watch it for free on their Facebook page.