Edwin McCain

Lost in America

Edwin McCain opens his latest studio album — a collection recorded at his new studio facility in Greenville, S.C. with producer Noel Golden — with the strummy, slow-groovin’ “Gramercy Park Hotel” — a tune very much in the vein of such late-’90s alt-pop acts as The Wallflower and Matchbox 20. It resembles the Mellencamp-esque sound and soul of album’s title track as well. The more orchestrated and rockin’ “The Kiss” stretches out from the formula bit. A respectful cover of the Vigilantes of Love’s anthemic “Welcome to Struggleville” is a nice surprise. The djimbe-driven Afro-groove of “Truly Believe” actually blends well with the James Gang guitar syncopation. This stuff sounds very familiar and radio-ready, but the crispness of the production and execution from McCain’s band — sax ‘n’ keys player Craig Shields, guitarists Larry Chaney and Pete “Liverpool” Riley, drummer Dave Harrison, and bassist Lee Hendricks — doesn’t mask the warmth of the musical and vocal performances. —T. Ballard Lesemann

Kevin West

My Life & Times


On his latest, local songwriter, guitarist, and white-dude rapper Kevin West attempts to overlap funky acoustic rock with funky hip-hop and soul. The groove-filled, Carolina-centric collection is comprised of a dozen songs and a handful of comedy skits based on his own true-life experiences. Musically, it’s all over the map, with acoustic and electric modern rock tunes, dirty-word rhymes and stories, and a few bouncy rap-rock hybrids. Around a traditional rock band style of production, there’s plenty of drum machine rhythm tracks, samples, and electronic loops. West’s kid brother, Mike West [a.k.a “O.C.”], stands out as one of the rappers alongside Alex Carpenter [a.k.a. “ACE”]. My Life & Times makes a few weird turns from one style to another, but it bounces throughout. —TBL

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