Americana Highways: Joey McGee Perfectly Blends Rock, Soul, And Country On ‘El Camino Real’

February 26, 2019   Gary Schwind

Joey McGee is a singer-songwriter who is carrying on the long tradition of Texas-based storytellers on his new album El Camino Real (Mosaic Sun Music). 

When you play this album, the first song is “Stuck.” The first thing you notice is the similarity between Joey McGee’s vocals and Jackson Browne’s. It is a well-constructed tune that combines elements of rock and soul into a sound that is easy to listen to. 

“Sunday Blues” is a song that draws you in immediately. The intro features some accordion, which is just enough to give the song a little Louisiana flavor as well as some twangy guitar. That is enough to catch your attention. Then with the first lyrics of the song, McGee nails a sentiment shared by lots of people, “Sometimes the place that you come from ain’t the place where you belong.” The lyrics are a real strength of this earnest song. McGee delivers one line after the other that make you nod your head. 

McGee seems to have a way with encapsulating life experiences in a song. “The Journey” is a good example. He takes the listener through the whole journey of life from birth to a mother’s realization that her child will soon set out on his or her own. And he does it all in 3:15. The melody of this song delves a little more into country than other songs – especially with the pedal steel. 

The album contains a cover of “The Cape” by Guy Clark. The guitar tone is reminiscent of Derek Trucks and the organ brings a soulful sound to the song. Even if you’re unfamiliar with the original, you can’t help but sing along with the chorus, “He’s one of those who knows that life is just a leap of faith. Spread your arms, and hold your breath, and always trust your cape.” 

This album is a good showcase for the storytelling abilities of McGee. The longest song is only 5:34, but he packs a lot of details into songs that aren’t excessively long. On top of that, he perfectly blends rock, soul, and country into a mellow, easygoing sound. El Camino Real was released on February 22 and is available everywhere now. Order your copy here.

NOTE: This review was originally published by Americana Highways, February 26, 2019

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