"Road to Zen" (Discovery; 1997)

Reviewed by Jeff Rogers

Corey Stevens has a Stevie Ray Vaughn sound. He doesn’t steal any riffs, but he has been compared to the late great one in many ways. This release finds him hard at work to push those similarities aside and make his mark with a talent that takes a part of that sound and slows it down. 

Corey has said that his grandfather traded the fishing gear for a guitar that young Corey wanted. Corey went on to earn a degree in music and even married his vocal coach. He has a vision, and after listening to this disc you can clearly see and hear his evident passion.

There is a style of blues that Corey plays that just welcomes a sit down with some good, music-loving friends. He sings and has a great blues voice, though he does let his guitar do most of the talking. Vocally, he sounds like Eric Clapton in a few spots but possesses enough originality to make this recording his own signature.

With only five cards to pick from his discography he is limited by releases but not talent. He has a confidence that shows each track full of guitar and smooth vocals. This disc was penned entirely by Stevens. Although "Road to Zen" doesn’t stay in heavy rotation in my music library, I can still put it on every now and then and feel the music complete my tastes. It’s like a good conversation with an old friend.

Performing on "Road to Zen" are Corey Stevens – guitar and vocals; additional musicians: Will Macgregor – bass; Nick Vincent – drums.

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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