Upon first listen yesterday morn, the latest long player from Miko Marks and the Resurrectors was akin to a sonic time machine that transported me to the late 1960s and early 1970s, when “rock music” was still an all-encompassing genre. Feel Like Going Home is a gumbo of rock ’n’ roll, R&B, gospel and country, in other words, a sound that was de rigueur for almost every artist and band that recorded in Memphis with the Memphis Boys or in Muscle Shoals with the Swampers during those years.
But thanks to generations raised on AOR and “classic rock,” rock music has evolved from a sprawling metropolis into a gated community. The same’s true for country music, with its many tributaries dammed from reaching the river (aka radio). In the 1990s, “Americana” became the catch-all used to categorize such music that mixes and matches genres a little too much to fit in elsewhere. Whatever you want to classify it, however, know this: Feel Like Going Home is an excellent album. Some songs conjure P.P. Arnold’s little-known (in the U.S.) singles in the late 1960s; others bring to mind Gladys Knight & the Pips’ soulful embrace of country singer-songwriter Jim Weatherly’s tunes as well as the Rolling Stones circa Let It Bleed.
The 11-song, 46-minute set opens with “Feel Like Going Home,” which—as I noted in April, when it was released as a single—could well be a long-lost Merry Clayton acetate recovered from a dusty shelf at Muscle Shoals Sound Studio. (As with all but one of the songs here, it was written by Marks and bandmates Justin Phipps and Steve Wyreman.) “One More Night” yearns to relive America’s southern music meccas as well as the eras in which they flourished: “The road ahead don’t look as bright as the path we walked before/and when the sun feels like it’s fading/and the world just don’t seem right/take me back one more night.” The moody and bluesy hymnal “River” finds her seeking solace in the water; whereas “One More Night” features a tasty guitar solo, it’s accented by a soulful harmonica solo. “This Time,” on the other hand, sports a 1950s R&B vibe.
The stirring “Peace of Mind” observes the turmoil that’s racked the world in recent years and how it impacts our well-being. It’s one of those soul-stirring songs, a la Allison Moorer’s “Heal” or Simon & Garfunkel’s “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” that sounds like it’s been with us forever and a day. It leads into the uptempo “Trouble,” which was inspired by a quote from civil rights icon John Lewis (“Get in good trouble, necessary trouble, and help redeem the soul of America”). “The Good Life,” which follows, celebrates the sacrifices and dreams of her mother, and vows to continue them.
“Deliver Me” is another gospel-flavored tune that channels the great beyond. “The Other Side” delves deep into the blues, featuring heavy electric guitars and an even more electrifying vocal from Marks. The spiritual “Lay Your Burdens Down” promises comfort (“dark are the days when you walk alone/cold is the ground where you sleep/though your heart may be weary and turning to stone/these healing waters run deep”). The album comes to a close with the one non-original, Lee Bob Watson’s “Jubilee,” which vows salvation through song; it’s less a last chapter and more an addendum, in a sense.
It’s a great album well worth many spins. Seek it out.