Artist: Mac Millen

Title: Songs Found By The Cotton Field

Reviewed By Andrew Greenhalgh

From it's very inception, country and folk music has had a rather humble feel. The music of immigrants,farmers, and folks plowing their very lives from the ground, country and folk have been typified by homespun yarns,tales of faith, and ultimately, the stories of life. Those stories have generally been gritty and blue collar and, compared to most, honest.  And even as the years have gone by and the days of Waylon and Willie have succumbed to the days of Rascal Flatts and Kieth Urban, there's still something of that honest humility that ranges throughout the whole of country music.

Humility is something that comes very clear through the work of indie artist and songwriter, Mac Millen.  Millen is a poster-child for the genre, being born into a farming community, singing in the church choir, and completing school with an animal science degree.  He's to heart his legacy and tied it together with his passion that formed when he first saw the Beatles on the Ed Sullivan Show.  Since then, he's been passionate about music, honing his chops on multiple instruments,songwriting and vocal work and arranging. That hard work has paid off, as he's been fortunate enough to work with high profile acts like David Allen Coe, Confederate Railroad, Rob Crosby, David Ball and The Bellamy Brothers.

But ultimately, Millen had his own passion to perform and, with the development of his own home studio,he went to work writing,playing, and singing every note throughout on his solo debut,Songs Found By The Cotton Field.

Millen's sound on the album is clearly country.  The man knows his roots and stays true throughout, relying on generally acoustic arrangements embellished with some solid percussion and bass.  Keeping in mind that he plays every instrument on the record, the overall result is quite respectable, with the arrangements not suffering from any performances whatsoever.

Millen kicks off the album with "Which Way Is Up", a warm country track buoyed by a solid vocal performance and lyrics that capture the classic "my baby's left me" vibe with a slight sense of humor.  This is followed by "What The Blind Man Saw", "A Crossroad Time", the nosatlgic "My Flying Car".  Millen takes things to church on "Where We All Belong", slowing the pace down and letting his acoustic show the way and it's a welcomed respite. The lyric reflects on the passion of the Church and it's mission and gently showcases the artist's heart without coming across as overbearing. Millen keeps the poignancy going with "That's When They're Here", another slow roller that muses over the memories of those who've passed on.

Millen picks the pace up a bit with "That's Why She Cries" as he tells the story of a broken woman reeling from bad decisions and the loss of innocence.  It sets up the arrival of the nearsouthern-gospel "One Day" nicely.  "One Day" is straight-up country,with some solid harmonies, gospel-fueled lyrics, and a rousing chorus.  The artist keeps it rocking with the cute love tale of "This Little LOve", with some churning guitars and a perky percussion that keep the blood flowing.

Yet it's back to the acoustic for the album closer,"A Long Goodbye", and that's fully appropriate given the subject matter.  Telling the tale of an old couple slowly losing one another, Millen channels solid emotion and ends his record on a strong note.

Review by Andrew Greenhalgh                 

"Wow" Strong clean sound,  really nice lyrics!    'Dat man is going somewhere"