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Kevin Costner & Modern Country

2010-11-09 16:23
I’m one of those rare people who happen to actually like Kevin Costner... and many of his movies. Costner has the ability to bring sympathetic characters to stories that are not always as praiseworthy as we’d like.

That’s exactly what Turn it On is – an album with a wobbly centre made listenable by a musical performance that is just impossibly... "everyman".  The songs are written mostly by bandmate John Coinman, though various contributions even from Costner himself are common.

Collectively, those songs are not overly ambitious, and at times an unimaginative lyric run may illicit a groan or three. In fact, some critics have gone so far as to say that the band basically does little more than touch the cornerstones of this type of American rock – Springsteen, Mellencamp, etc...

But Costner doesn’t seem to want to be anyone else – not the rock star, not the balladeer, not the saviour of the world. In fact, if Costner sounds like anyone, it’s a Jewish guy from Ohio (Marc Cohn is a praiseworthy reference, people). It sounds pretty dull on paper, but like in one of his movies, it somehow works for Modern Country.

Costner is happy to be just a competent singer alongside a very good-sounding band. He inhabits a role to perform the songs, but not in the acting sense – it’s more like Costner injects a conviction in his delivery, like a great public speaker. That adds a sincerity in the music that “greater” vocalists have failed to fake, and makes Costner probably worth watching live, too.

Do yourself a favour - get in your car and drive down a national road through farmlands on an overcast day. Pop in this CD and open your windows. Tried that. And at least in that context, this album is brilliantly appropriate.


An infinitely listenable modern country record that will make you long for the open (American) road.

jnrb 2010-11-11 08:21 AM
Well if his "album is better than his movies" how difficult could that be? I mean "The Postman" - need I say more???
Jaco Wium 2010-11-12 10:18 AM
Very good, even-handed review of Costner's album, thank you!

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