By Jim Schutze
By Rachel Watts
By Lauren Drewes Daniels
By Anna Merlan
By Lee Escobedo
By Alice Laussade
By Scott Reitz
It's all about the voice, stupid. Always is. Here, too: Jason Corcoran's baritone is the first thing that jumps out on Peel, his debut release as Gaston Light. Deservedly so: It's vulnerable, compelling. But it sounds, well, a little Red Dirt. Blame Corcoran's Texas twang for that.
Considering that his press materials name-check The Boss and modern Laurel Canyon types like Dawes, it's pretty clear that Red Dirt ain't where Cororan's head is. Unfortunately, his voice and the album's overall traditional country fare makes such genre classification rather unavoidable. Sure, he tries to showcase himself as something different from time to time — "Kiss The Hive," with its poppy, horn-infused backing and it's "I'm chasing death, babe/just to feel alive" refrain, aims for the more soulful and poppy end of the alt-country spectrum, a la Lucero's 1372 Overton Park — but the album really succeeds best as Red Dirt fare.
The subject matter — largely focusing on Corcoran's past troubles with drugs and alcohol abuse and his attempts to surpass those concerns — seems to fly in the face of that whole realm, but sonically, it doesn't. And that's OK, really: "Radio King"with its indigenous guitar melodies, seems particularly destined for success on KHYI-FM 95.3 The Range. And, well, "Morning Fog," that's just a good song, a stark representation of Corcoran's struggles with abuse, thanks to its duplicitous lyrics about being OK with his life after alcohol.
Corcoran's still determining who he is as an artist at this point. It wouldn't be the worst thing in the world if he decided to head down the road of what he does best.