Nearly a quarter-century ago, John Corbett emerged as a presence on the American pop culture scene as the local DJ and wry philosophical observer on the hit 1990s TV series set in Alaska, "Northern Exposure." His screen resume in the years since has included "Sex And The City" and "My Big Fat Greek Wedding," but his career always had a musical component that came to fruition with a self-titled 2006 debut release. Among the many friends and contacts he made in Nashville along the way was Jon Randall Stewart, who produced "Leaving Nothin' Behind" and wrote 7 of the 10 cuts.
The material includes a few good-natured country rockers (Steal Your Heart, Backside Backslide) and the obligatory drinking song (Me And Whiskey), but the most interesting tunes come when Corbett slows things down a bit and his high baritone/low tenor approaches its most expressive character.
Name On A Stone is a nicely contemplative look at life, and Dairy Queen is a tale of small-town young love taking its course, reminiscent of Nanci Griffith's Love At The Five And Dime. Perhaps Corbett's best effort here, though, is El Paso (note: not the same song as Marty Robbins' iconic 1960 hit, though it is in the same vein), the story of a wrongly convicted man ("I wasn't even in El Paso") facing the gallows. It's a song that requires a sensitive touch, and Corbett is up to the task and demonstrates again that he's not just another Hollywood star with delusions of singing prowess. He actually knows what he's doing.