Justin Cody Fox

New Southern
Justin Cody Fox
Johnny Winter: Paul Natkin. Justin Cody Fox: Lauren Fox.

North Carolina singer/songwriter Justin Cody Fox’s latest involves a ’61 Gibson SG and former Black Crowes guitarist Audley Freed. With Fox and Freed on guitars and sharing production duties with Tommy Brothers, New Southern mines the roots-adjacent worlds of country, southern rock, and Americana. Robust acoustic guitars, twangy pedal steel, and gritty electrics make an appearance on an album that covers lots of territory. From the AC/DC-inspired “Show Me Your Light” to the old-school pop country of “Dying Breed,” New Southern is a feast.

Fred Eltringham on drums, David Morse and Robert Kearns on bass, and Jen Gunderman and Rhett Huffman on keys provide solid backing. The album’s strength lies in its stylistic diversity and crafty guitar arrangements. “Living Ghosts,” “Walking These Blues,” and “Wheels” offset bleeding heart blues and country ballads with edgy guitars and regional authenticity. Dig the outro guitar solo on “Have You Seen An Angel.” Mercy!

Clear production uplifts clever tunes with flawless arrangements. Fox is a full-blown crooner with the vocal chops to pull off the most hackneyed ballad without an ounce of self-awareness. With Fox on guitar and vocals, and Freed on stunt guitar, this disc is a winner.

This article originally appeared in VG’s September 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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