Black Music Matters Festival

Neal McCoy

24-7-365 – 2000 (Giant)

Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz

After a long stint on Atlantic, Neal McCoy switched record labels. That's not all that changed. Instead of cutesy, easily digestible disposable dance songs like "The Wink" and "The Shake," McCoy has grown far far more serious here. Every song of the 10 is squarely about love.

He tackles a number of ballads, showing a voice that can pull it off slower numbers ("Every Man for Himself"). At times, however, McCoy gets downright syrupy. The strings on the closing "The Key to Your Heart" drench the song. When he goes a bit more uptempo ("Beatin' It In"), McCoy lacks any sense of distinctiveness. The walloping rock guitars add nothing.

Considered quite entertaining in concert, McCoy ain't exactly a trailblazer, of course, on disc, but at least he does that for himself - with mixed results - in trying to move beyond the brand of country he may have felt handcuffed him.