From Friday’s Weekend Look section of The Oklahoman.
Green Corn Revival “Say You’re a Sinner” (self-released)
Weatherford band Green Corn Revival’s debut album doesn’t sound like anything on terrestrial radio, and for music fans exhausted with slick country and soulless pop, “Say You’re a Sinner” offers tuneful balm for those weary ears.
The seven-piece outfit has only been making music together for about a year, but Green Corn Revival already has backed Oklahoma legend Wanda Jackson at the South By Southwest Music Festival in Austin, Texas, and earned fans and acclaim around the state and region. With “Say You’re a Sinner,” the band makes a mighty argument for listening local and buying indie.
The evocative opening track, “Pt. 1,” and its companion piece, “Pt. 2,” feature guest musician James South on trumpet and play out like modern-day spaghetti Western anthems. As “Pt. 1” seamlessly shifts to the galloping dance number “Never That Easy,” the album gives the impression that it’s the long-lost soundtrack to a Quentin Tarantino film set against the vast plains and big skies of Western Oklahoma.
On the ballad “Only Love,” a mournful pedal steel sashays with a classical piano, while co-lead singers Natalie Houck and Jared Deck perform a perfect vocal two-step. “Watching Over Me” pairs dark lyrics with a classic ‘50s pop beat.
“Say You’re a Sinner” has a markedly cinematic scope. Richly textured and tonally eclectic, the album dabbles in a variety of genres, from countrypolitan to rockabilly. But it never feels like Green Corn Revival is ripping off other artists or even merely paying homage. The songwriting is simply too strong, the musicianship too impressive and the band’s stamp too distinctive.