Corey Legge is a singer-songwriter originally from Bega on the south coast of New South Wales, now residing in Wollongong. His debut album, Driving Out of Eden, was actually released in February – but in these days of independent releases and so much good country music to discover, it can sometimes take a while for news to filter out. Still, despite the lateness of this review, this album is worth writing about.
Legge has been performing for several years, supporting Australian acts such as The Angels and Brian Cadd, appearing at the Cobargo Folk Festival in NSW and Nukara Music Festival in WA. He’s also been the recipient of a Young Regional Artist Scholarship from CreateNSW. Intriguingly, he decided to record Driving Out of Eden in New Zealand with producer Ben Edwards, who has worked with Marlon Williams, amongst others.
This kind of background suggests a steady accumulation of skills and knowledge – a patience, perhaps, in the development of the art and craft of songwriting and performance. It’s the sort of information that’s always useful to have about an artist if you’re going to listen closely to the work, because it suggests the lineage of that artist, and it’s always interesting to try to detect that in the work. And it’s there in Legge’s highly accomplished debut release.
There are nine songs on this album and they are all very, very good. Legge’s background is in folk and Americana, and that can be heard in the musical style. But no amount of lineage or influence, really, can determine how an artist is going to connect with their audience and the key to the beauty of this album – for this listener, at least – is in Legge’s voice. There is a lot of nuance and awareness in its ravines, and light and hopefulness in its mountain tops; it brings wistfulness and sometimes an appropriate weariness to the lyrics, which are reflective and regretful in places, and which also grab the listener’s attention from the first song.
Legge has emerged relatively quietly onto the national music scene, although this is not the album of a quiet artist – an unassuming one, perhaps, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t deserve or demand your attention.
Driving Out of Eden is out now.