When an integral player from a well known band launches a solo project, the artist knows they are taking a calculated risk. Coy Bowles of the famed Zac Brown Band is proving some risks are worth taking. Coy’s debut album on Southern Ground Records, Love Takes Flight, is a throaty mixture of country, funk and Muscle Shoals-infused rock. Coy called upon his talented bevy of label mates to help him create an album that his hometown, Thomaston, GA will surely be proud of.
The album is a labor of love between the two sides of Coy Bowles, The Fellowship and the Zamily. Backing Coy on the album is Jordan Shalhoup, David Englehard, Mark Cobb, Matt Mangano and Jason Isbell. John Driskell Hopkins co-wrote and is featured on background vocals for “The Healing.” Clay Cook engineered and co-produced the album with Bowles and is featured throughout the record on background vocals and organ. Each song has a unique story to tell. Coy has a knack for drawing upon life experiences and allowing the listener a glimpse into personal accounts of heart break or forgiveness.
Love Takes Flight opens with “Love Train,” a fast paced jam that conjures the irrepressible vibe of Stevie Wonder. The next track, an easy mesh of rock and country called “Hold On” (reminiscent of John Mellencamp) was co-written by songwriter and friend of the Zac Brown Band, Wyatt Durrette. “Follow the Sun” is an uplifting song about searching for meaning in your life and ultimately, choosing what makes you happy. The lyrics were crafted for a friend of Coy’s who decided to enlist in the military, “follow your heart, follow your soul, follow your sun.”
Coy is joined on the fourth track “My Heart’s On Fire” by label mate Sonia Leigh. The stirring duet reaches a peak when Sonia’s sultry voice keens, “help me, I’m burning down.” “Living My Life” is a gritty, high-energy number overflowing with tenacious guitar wails. The fast-paced jam is followed by “The Healing,” a powerful song about forgiveness and the restorative power of love. “Sailing Away” is a fun record, akin to recent island-tinged ZBB ditties.
The album concludes with two compelling tracks. Levi Lowrey joins Coy for “This Ol Town,” a hard driving song with an eerie, hymnal-like quality. The disc closes with the haunting ballad “So Long So Long.” Coy sings with reverence the words that inspired the album’s title, “in the end love takes flight.”
Love Takes Flight is available on iTunes. Physical copies will be available for purchase via cdbaby (www.cdbaby.com), Coy’s website (www.coybowles.com) and the Southern Ground Records website (www.southerngroundrecords.com).