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I’ve long been fascinated by actors and actresses who decide to record music, possibly stemming from a present I received at a 5th grade birthday party, Shaq Fu: Da Return.  Everyone has heard William Shatner’s recordings, but every so often I’ll share a lesser known foray into music.

Now up: John Corbett

John Corbett is best known for his roles in two iconic televison series: Northern Exposure and Sex in the City, receiving a Golden Globe nomination apiece.  On the small screen he also was in the recently-cancelled United States of Tara and starred in the shortlived (but Emmy and TCA-nominated) Lucky, along with Craig Robinson.  But he’s also found steady work in (admittedly generally uninteresting) movies, highlighted by his turns in My Big Fat Greek Wedding and Raising Helen.  And he’s really fantastic in a personal favorite of mine, Wonderland.

On screen, Corbett tends to exude a laid-back, chill persona.  I make no claims to knowing the man, but given that his music could be described similarly, perhaps Corbett really is John Q. Public, at least how we’d like to see ourselves: capable, easygoing, always in control without needing or appearing to be so.  Erlewine, at AMG, calls these traits “naturalistic.”  Perhaps.  My theory, based on the day I recently spent in Wheeling, Corbett’s hometown, is that’s just how people from Wheeling are.

It follows, then, that Corbett’s self-titled country album wouldn’t resort to any celebrity music gimmickry.  There aren’t any famous guest artists and there’s no apparent work by producers to hide or alter Corbett’s voice.  It is pretty straightforward country music.  No exaggerated twang or crossover potential, just the stuff you listen to while sitting on your front porch, beer in hand, maybe shooting the breeze with your friends.

Released in 2006, the album reached #45 on the country music charts and #21 on the independent chart.  It somehow figures that Corbett wouldn’t sign with a label.  That could be the reason I haven’t seen the album on Rhapsody or Spotify.  But don’t worry, I own the CD, which features a cover photo (pictured left) by Bo Derek, Corbett’s longtime girlfriend.  Oddly, I may actually remember buying it.  If I recall correctly, Brian and I were rooming together in Virginia and had ventured out to Total Wine, likely to pick up some beers for a taste test.  There was a music store going out of business in the same strip mall.  Most of the stuff had been picked clean, but we found a couple of good things in there, I won’t embarrass Brian by naming what he bought.

There was one single from the album, “Good to Go”, which reached #43 on the Country Singles chart.  They made a generally disappointing music video:

Or, if you prefer, you watch his performance of the song on The Tony Danza Show.  I think my favorite song from the album, though, is “Revival”:

Brilliant, Banal, or Bizarre – I probably need another category here, but banal, unfortunately.  Part of that is on me.  I tend to like my country either really poppy or heartbreakingly sad.  For me, a lot of stuff in the middle, especially those without big hooks, sounds a little bland.  I did kinda like the album, but I’ve never had any John Corbett tunes stuck in my head.

August 2011