While Walker McGuire may have grown a respectable fan base after their appearance on the Big D and Bubba show two years ago, their brand new self-titled EP will surely attract many new fans. Comprised of Jordan Walker and Johnny McGuire, Walker McGuire have crafted an project that’s a strong introduction to the duo’s take on modern country music.
With their lyricism, Walker McGuire are able to imbue unique elements into songs that have familiar themes. Their sophomore single “Mysteries Of The World” remains endearingly corny, with the narrator ultimately pondering why his lover is still by his side. Lines that ask the hard questions such as “where did D.B Cooper go?” as well as “where do socks in the drawer go?” ultimately showcase the duo’s personality.
Their vocals, particularly lead singer Jordan McGuire’s, have that sort of affable tone to his voice that always shows them as fun guys to be around. Even on a track like “Lost,” which speaks to the familiar theme of getting lost down some road nobody knows, the focus isn’t on trying to force some unneeded macho swagger. The entire point is that this narrator is enjoying his experience just being with this person, and the fact that he’s so elated about it shows. Charisma is hard to fake, and both members have what it takes.
In terms of their overall sound, they hit a sweet spot between neo-traditional and modern, with several songs here featuring some enjoyable steel guitar that actually feels essential rather than simply tacked on for effect. The highlight, “’Til Tomorrow” is one such example, with its easy going mid-tempo acoustic groove and strong lyrical offering. It takes the same route that Jason Aldean’s “Any Old Barstool” did by framing the protagonist in question as someone who’s happily over an ex-lover by, well, telling the listener exactly that. With the many references made to the past relationship though, as well as McQuire’s vocal performance, it’s easy to tell that’s not the case. The protagonist knows by tomorrow that he’ll be back to his old self. The awareness does show some smarter subtext than one might expect for a debut single – this definitely deserved to be a bigger hit.
“18 Forever” easily has the catchiest hook out of any track here, with the narrator acknowledging that these “good ol’ days” can’t last forever. That sentiment extends towards the closer as well, with “Good Kinda Bad,” which spotlights a woman for how she acts and her personality rather than how she looks. (Isn’t that a refreshing perspective?) Plus, the duo earns extra credit for weaving in a “Free Fallin’” reference.
Walker McGuire’s closest comparison in the current country landscape would be LANCO. Fans of Jon Pardi, William Michael Morgan, and Mo Pitney might find this Walker McGuire a bit too polished, but for those who gravitate toward country with a modern twist (like LANCO), Walker McGuire have delivered a promising collection of songs that should easily find a bigger audience than it already has.