This is an interesting left turn for Matt Turk, a countrified modern-ish Americana album of cover tunes that cover a wide spectrum and diverse musical field. Turk’s voice lends itself well to these journeys, some obscure, some very popular at one point in time. Opening up with John Denver’s “Thank God I’m A Country Boy” gives the song authenticity that this writer felt the over-exposed John Denver lost along the way…”Lovin’ In My Baby’s Eyes” works better for me than that…and run-throughs of “Bang A Gong (Get It On)” or the sublime Rolling Stones country moment, “Sweet Virginia”.
As a jamboree flash of the moment they would work fine but it is hard to improve on greatness in this setting and Turk fares much better with his stunningly beautiful reinterpretation of “I’ll Follow The Sun”. Not to say that anyone can improve a Beatles episode, they are all so indelibly imprinted on our minds, but his soulful stirrings are tremendous and say more about the artist and his ability to take that melody down a notch to a different place. “You Don’t Mess Around With Jim” is another hard song to compete with, Matt holds his own but is more effective when he goes for it “On The Turning Away” with its masterful a capella flourishes.
“America The Beautiful” gets a respectful reading while “City Of New Orleans” is also so much larger than life that it would fit into a live show more efficiently than a live-in-the-studio cd. But “Wabash Cannonball” and “Mama Don’t Allow” also have big moments…the lesser known compositions the more appealing excursions – to these ears – than the popular numbers, for the most part. Still, a nice effort…commendable, really, and something Spanky McFarlane and Mark Newman would like to be on a bill with, no doubt.
Joe Viglione is the Chief Film Critic at TMRZoo.com. He was a film critic for Al Aronowitz’s The Blacklisted Journal, has written thousands of reviews and biographies for AllMovie.com, Allmusic.com and produces and hosts Visual Radio. Visual Radio is a fifteen year old variety show on cable TV which has interviewed John Lennon’s Uncle Charlie, Margaret Cho, Ray Manzarek, John Densmore, Felix Cavaliere, Marty Balin, Bill Press and hundreds of other personalities.