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Not All Roses: Corey Nolen & Ashley Spurling

23 February 2018 CD Reviews news


On his latest release, “Not All Roses,” singer-songwriter Corey Nolen enlists the help of vocalist Ashley Spurling as he tells honest, real-life stories of heartbreak, commitment, despair and hope. The harmony-driven duet trades thought-provoking lyrics that ride on melodies that bear witness to Nolen’s southern upbringing, but the music has enough pop/rock sensibilities to keep the listener from fully nailing down its musical genre.

The album was primarily recorded live in the studio. Corey enlisted the help of producer Brad Lyons (Matthew Mayfield) as well as a large cast of Birmingham and Nashville musicians including Clint Wells (Bob Schneider, Griffin House), and Jesse Suttle (Alabama Blues Hall of Fame). Together they were able to accomplish the goal of capturing the energy and dynamics of vocalists and musicians playing off of each other in the moment in order to create this unique and emotive full length album. 

“Not All Roses” is the fifth recording released by Corey Nolen in the past five years. Though he is not a typical touring artist, Corey is a prolific writer and consistently brings new music to the stage and studio. He is best known for his songwriting, which draws from his keen attention to the details of life and his ability to capture truths shared by almost all of his listeners. In the winter of 2017 Corey was named a semi-finalist in the International Songwriting Competition and in the spring of 2015 he was awarded first place in the statewide, “Make Music Alabama” songwriting competition. With this album, Corey Nolen further establishes himself as a compelling storyteller with a knack for bringing those stories to life by engaging skillful musicians who help him communicate his stories through well-produced, honest songs.

Corey Nolen and Ashley Spurling
Not All Roses
Self-released
****


The two have joined forces to great effect on this album

 

Kickstarter campaigns are always dangerous, in the sense that it’s a huge risk for the artist, and the backers enter the possibility of financially getting behind something that while they should like it, ultimately, they may not. Thankfully for those who backed Corey Nolen’s Kickstarter for ‘Not All Roses’, they have every reason to be very pleased with the output, as the musician has put together a very impressive album.

Teaming up with Ashley Spurling, the two combine fluidly throughout the album, with a series of excellent harmonies being fused with gentle, enticing instrumentals. Spurling’s vocals in particular are worthy of mention, as they are simply fantastic, while Nolen expertly navigates through each track with thoughtful lyrics and slick guitar work. Given how this sounds, it will be little wonder if Nolen decides once more to do a Kickstarter campaign, and could find himself with substantially more backers than he had for ‘Not All Roses’.

Christian Brown
www.coreynolenmusic.com


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