Rod McCormack - Fingerprints
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Fingerprints (Sonic Timber, 2019)

Rod McCormack

Reviewed by Jim Hynes

This is another of those 'bout time ones. Rod McCormack is an Aussie veteran producer, songwriter and musician who has produced award-winning records, often reaching gold or platinum status in pop, country, rock, electronic and more. His wife, Gina Jeffreys, is a country superstar in Australia. He has played and/or toured with Johnny Cash, Kris Kristofferson, Glen Campbell, Keith Urban, Trisha Yearwood, Tommy Emmanuel and many more. He's written over 400 songs with a number of hits. So, with that resume preceding him, this debut recording comes with high expectations.

McCormack made sure he had a top notch supporting cast, relying on Nashville session veterans Dave Pomeroy (upright bass), Andy Leftwich (mandolin, fiddle, tenor guitar), Aubrey Haynes (fiddle and mandolin), Rob Ickes and Justin Moses (Dobro). McCormack played guitar, banjo, papoose, lead vocals and backing vocals for his 14 originals, some co-written with John Scottt Sherrill, Rory Bourke, Fred Koller, Tomi Lunsford and his wife, Jeffries.

The album begins is a straight ahead bluegrass mode with "Shimmers," filled with terrific banjo, fiddle, mandolin and Dobro spots. "Another Tinsel Town" stays in a ballad bluegrass mode fueled by Dobro while "Covering Your Tracks" resumes the blistering tempo of the opener with rapid-fire runs from all pickers. The beautiful love ballad title track features Jeffreys on harmony vocals, a truly touching tune. Rollicking bluegrass resumes with "It Was Love," featuring the harmonies of bluegrass talent Claire Lynch who also swaps lead vocals with McCormack. Lynch encores on "Wherever You Go," a warm ballad, strengthened by her harmonies.

There are two instrumental tunes included for good measure including "Timeless Traveler" And the blistering closer, 'Sweetwater." McCormack proves convincing storyteller on the sublime "Ballad of Willie Johnson," telling it in first person. As he does throughout, he alternates the pacing between conventional bluegrass and ballad fare, "Another Nail" being the former with "It Takes Years" the latter.

Throughout McCormack's vocals are soothing and well-articulated, also multi-tracking his background vocals for the harmonies. "Double Rainbow" and "Winter Worn" have vivid imagery, two more of his affecting love songs. Whether on guitar or banjo, McCormack impressively picks alongside these bluegrass stalwarts. Suffice it to say, McCormack met that high bar that was set and then some.

CDs by Rod McCormack

Fingerprints, 2019

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