From the first note Chuck Courtenay's brand-new EP, it's clear as day the current country music scene has a new voice to reckon with.
The four songs on GOOD SIDE OF THIS BAR serve overdue notice that this charismatic singing guitarist from Savannah, Georgia is ready for his shot at the national stage. Not that Chuck and his crackerjack backing band haven't already racked up thousands of highway miles touring from the swampy Deep South of Florida and South Carolina clear up to Toby Keith's I Love This Bar & Grill in the slightly less humid climate of Denver, Colorado -- but although they routinely leave crowds hollering for more wherever they perform, radio and TV have yet to embrace Chuck in a big way.
With a little luck, that disparity should change once word of how great a record he's made starts to spread.
Produced by Nashville A-Lister Dave McAfee, who in addition to being Toby Keith's drummer for well over a decade both co-produced and played on Jamey Johnson's massive hit album THAT LONESOME SONG (nominated for an amazing three Grammys and five American Country Music Awards, plus winning Song of The Year for “In Color”), GOOD SIDE OF THIS BAR is likely one of the best-sounding independently made records of 2012.
Clocking in at less than 15 minutes, the “all killer, no filler” EP runs the gamut from the uptempo, tongue-in-cheek tip-of-the-hat “Conway Twitty” to the slice-of-life slow-dance ballad “Everyday Anywhere.” In between, there's “Fallin'” -- a cool breeze of a summertime love song (with a layered arrangement and minimalist guitar solo instantly reminiscent of vintage '80s Fleetwood Mac) that's got breakout hit written all over it.
Finally, there's the title track: a radio-ready singalong that celebrates the family one makes out of the regulars at their local watering hole, that dusty dive where you can “bend an ear, learn to dance and feel just like a star.”
These four stellar tracks are merely a preview of Chuck's forthcoming full-length debut album, which he plans to finish and release by the middle of 2013.
Like the legendary Americana star Webb Wilder once sang, “You're never too small to hit the big time.” That adage certainly applies to Chuck Courtenay, a breakout artist just waiting for his closeup.
So, grab a seat and have a nice long look at the GOOD SIDE OF THIS BAR. If you like what you see, then take a minute and turn your friends on to Chuck Courtenay and this new EP.
He's doing it the old-fashioned way: one new fan at a time.