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ALBUM REVIEW: "World In Between" by Mark McKinney

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"World In Between" is the latest album from Texas musician and signer Mark McKinney.
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ALBUM REVIEW: Mark McKinney – World In Between (Texas Evolution) 2017

It’s been almost eight years since I reviewed Mark McKinney’s album Middle America, an album which at the time received a pre-Rusty rating of “A.” Not bad.

But in the intervening years, well, life happened. I lost track of McKinney, who became a popular live draw on the Texas/Red Dirt scene and made Port Aransas, on the Texas Gulf Coast, a bit of a second home, finding much inspiration in the waves and sand, when not in Austin.

McKinney stuck to following his musical dream as it turns out. And I have to say that’s a great thing. There were even a number of radio hits in those years. Well deserved.

So, when McKinney’s latest recording, World In Between, came in the mail, I wondered what, if anything, had changed in the native West Texan’s musical approach and style.

If anything, McKinney seems less bombastic, musically, and more comfortable with a singer-songwriter style that still fits in the Texas/Red Dirt music vein that has grown (seemingly) exponentially in the past 20 years or so.

Listening to songs like the feel-good opener, “90 Miles” the wholesomeness of “Bacon & Eggs” and “Rainy Day Money” – with its longing-for-the-beach theme, and references to Jimmy Buffett – are popular in country songs of the past 15 years or more, but this one comes off as more authentic, more working class. After all, this guy does spent a lot of time on Mustang and Padre islands – places he considers a little “Shangri-la, a little nirvana …”

I’d rather run out of money, than run out of time,” sings McKinney on this hopeful track.

And you know what, McKinney has a very positive and upbeat outlook, even when storms come his way. It comes through in his voice, in his music, in his lyrics. It's very appealing. 

Just listen to "Yours," for instance. It has a carefree, strummy feel that borders on an indie-country-pop sound that suits McKinney's songwriting and comfortably, worn-in voice. And when he talks of enlightenment and the "tree of life" within, you know this guy is far more "tuned in" than many of his peers on the Texas/Red Dirt scene.

Acoustic guitars, Kenny Aronoff-like snappy snares, mandolins, harmonicas and that everyman approach really works on World In Between

I remember really like Middle America at the time, back in 2009. With this new record, Mark McKinney definitely has many more "stories to tell."

And I look forward to listening to them.

To learn more about Mark McKinney, go here.

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Andrew W. Griffin

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Andrew W. Griffin received his Bachelor of Science in Journalism from...

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About Red Dirt Report

Red Dirt Report was launched July 4, 2007 as an independent news website covering all manner of news, culture, entertainment and lifestyle stories that affect and interest Oklahoma readers and readers outside of our state. Our mission is to educate, promote civic engagement and discourse on public policy, government and politics. Our experienced journalists provided balanced in-depth coverage of news stories that affect Oklahomans. Our opinion/editorial stories come from a wide range of political view points. We carry out our mission by reporting, writing, and posting news and information. read more

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