26 September 2023

I Rise

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Reviewed by Ian Phillips.

By Cory Marks, Better Noise Music 2022.

Cory Marks is a Canadian country/rock cross-over artist whose star is on the rise.

He first came to my attention with his massive 2019 world-wide hit Outlaws and Outsiders.

I remember commenting at the time that the line between country music and straight-out rock & roll is getting very blurred.

In Cory’s case it’s just a smudge and it’s hard to know exactly where he falls.

He’s certainly got a foot firmly planted in both camps.

In my opinion I Rise owes much more to stadium rock than it does to country music and there’s even elements of heavy rock and metal in tracks like Burn It Up.

This six-track EP opens with a solid rock track In Me I Trust.

As the title suggests it’s a call to have faith in yourself and if you want something desperately enough keep going until you achieve it.

It’s followed by Burn It Up which is an aggressive, feel good, positive rock anthem.

Flying is the third track and it sounds like it could have been written with the new Top Gun movie in mind.

Once again, it’s a stadium anthem and it even incorporates a hint of Death Metal in the centre section of the track.

Apparently the two things that really light Cory’s adrenalin fuse is performing and flying.

It makes sense, he’s a qualified pilot and rock star.

Hold On is the quietest, and most country, song on the EP.

It is about finding the light even in the darkest times.

Cory’s love of flying returns in the next track which is a cover of the classic Jet Airliner by The Steve Miller Band.

It maintains the country-rock feel of the previous track and he does a good job, but I probably wouldn’t have included a cover on a six-track EP, even if it does involve a great guitar solo and him somehow finding a way to give the song an ‘Explicit’ warning.

The title track is the last song on the disc and I think it’s the probably the best cut of all of them.

I Rise encapsulates Cory’s response of rising up no matter how many times he gets knocked down.

The strength of the five original tracks suggests that the album that he’s currently working on could be worth keeping an eye out for.

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