MARCH 06, 2019 SHAWN UNDERWOOD
Although he wrote the rest of the songs on his new album, El Camino Real, the one that most epitomizes the record is a cover of Susanna & Guy Clark’s The Cape. Clark told the story, in his homespun way, of one of the crazy characters that inhabited his world. McGee adds an electric guitar and with his vocal delivery elevates the song to honor the eternal optimist we’ve all met (or been). Similarly, many of the other songs that comprise the project tell tales of fond, and unfond, memories through the eyes of people McGee met along his life’s journey.
Several of the tunes are straight out of the old-school country book. Pining is a ballad pleading a soon-to-be-ex lover not to go. Sunday Blues is a jauntier look at how a contemplative Sunday afternoon can be a window into life. For the Likes Of You explores the source of one’s inner strength.
There’s also a strong dose of Southern roots music on the album. Deep In the Heart is an admission that his adopted home of Texas is where his heart lies now. Hurricane is a Southern rocker that mixes metaphors between storms and girlfriends. Old Beat Up Car is more of a ballad that reminisces about a life well-lived and worth remembering.
Joey McGee has a warmth and personality in his voice that instantly makes you feel welcome. He’s got some great stories to tell and is backed by a band that enhances all of that without overpowering it. Those things come together on El Camino Real and leave you with a reminder to go for the full immersive experience of life, and have a little fun along the way.
NOTE: This review originally published in Twangville, April 6, 2019