Folk N Rock
Video Spotlight: ‘Cowboy Slide’ – Cornelius Ward

As a publication specializing in fusion genres, we have a big appreciation for artists who can blend seemingly disparate musical styles into a cohesive sound. I mean, it demonstrates creativity and skill  successfully going through the nuances of multiple genres and creating a harmonious fusion. This is a challenge that requires both musical talent and an intuitive sense of how diverse sounds can complement each other.

For those of you who have been following my reviews since the start of the year, you’ll know I’ve been on a mission to infuse my listening habits with more underground hip-hop, Celtic folk charm, and the honesty of independent country and bluegrass. If you felt like your 2023 playlists were missing a little something special, well, I’m right there with you. And that’s why I’m absolutely stoked about this latest discovery that landed on my desk.

And that’s the beauty of being a music journalist – not only do I get to share tunes that resonate with a wide audience, but I  also stumble upon hidden gems, artists who grab you from the first listen. Today, I’m stoked to talk about a track and video from Little Rock’s Cornelius’ C-Dubb’ Ward. This guy’s got a story as rich and layered as his music, with roots in hip-hop and R&B collaborations before taking a leap into the world of country around December 2022. The song I’m going to be focusing on today has a bit of a dance element to it: “Cowboy Slide.”

The track begins with a subtle, almost atmospheric tone buried deep within the mix, reminiscent of distant bells ringing. A laid-back guitar riff then enters, evoking a relaxing Sunday morning on the front porch. But don’t get too comfortable, soon you will need to put on your best dancin boots.

Then the vocals kick in, and Cornelius’s singing style is instantly magnetic. It’s undeniably Southern, with a smooth, soulful delivery that evokes nostalgia for 90s R&B and country. It’s like a blend of Clay Walker’s twang with Wanya Morris’s soulfulness, creating a unique style sound. As someone that grew up on 90’s R&B and Country, I really dig this.

But getting back to the arrangement, it features a great beat that allows the distant guitar work to shimmer through. However, Cornelius’s incredible vocal style remains the true star of the show, taking center stage in the mix. His voice effortlessly carries the melody, delivering the lyrics with charisma and charm in a way that makes you want to get up and start learning the cowboy slide then and there. And when the chorus hits, with its mid-90s R&B flair, it’s uplifting and fun. The vocal harmonies layered throughout the track add a cool little dimension of enjoyment.

And speaking of the dance, the chorus walks you through the instructions step by step. The chorus repeats a few more times, reinforcing the dance moves. Then, the track concludes with a touch of that lonely guitar work.”Cowboy Slide” is an absolute blast – a fun and feel-good song that’s sure to get you on your feet.

But there’s more to this track than just a step-by-step guide to the “Cowboy Slide.” Now, within the music is a narrative, a story that unfolds alongside the dance instructions. There is this relatable scene of someone seeking a good time after a mundane work week.  We’ve all been there. Wanting to escape the ordinary, ditch the empty house, and find connection in a lively setting. And it’s not really even about looking for romance or trouble, just a fun night out with friends.

And I mean think of the setting as like a typical country bar, where live music and dancing provide the backdrop for carefree enjoyment. The song captures the energy of a crowd wanting to let loose and have a good time. You know, just the simple joys of dancing and letting go. To me it’s about camaraderie, music, and the desire to escape the daily grind and find release on the dance floor.

And the video itself is a nostalgic trip back to those Southern summer nights. The atmosphere captured in the video feels like home, especially the shot of the nighttime field with pickup trucks gathered around and everyone dancing and enjoying themselves. It reminds me of the gatherings we used to have, where families and friends would come together under the stars to share stories. The video captures that sense of community making you feel like you’re right there in the middle of the fun.

The cinematography is excellent, with sweeping shots of the countryside and close-ups of the dancers that highlight their joy and energy. But what really sets this video apart is the editing. The bokeh light transitions are particularly cool, creating a dreamlike effect that perfectly complements the song’s laid-back vibe. They add a touch of magic to the visuals.

And there are a few more scenes, of course, with Cornelius standing on giant hay bales out in the field, doing the dance. From now on when driving past the kind of sights of hay in a field, it will make me want to pull over, jump on one and dance as well. But before I digress too much and start missing home, I’ll mention the final shot, which seems to be in a warehouse-like setting that still fits the overall vibe of the video. The video really does a great job of showcasing the dance itself, so you can visually learn how to do it.

This has been one of my most enjoyable discoveries of the year! As I’ve mentioned, I’ve been on the hunt for great fusion styles, particularly within hip-hop and folk/country-related material, to add to my personal playlist and collection. And this song is a perfect fit. As well is all of C-Dubbs work.

I can’t recommend this song enough! It’s just so fun and incredibly infectious. So I went back and checked out Cornelius’s EP that came out early last fall, and wow, it’s incredible. It’s an awesome blend of rap, great vocal work, beats, and acoustics. I’ve been listening to “Bonfire” a lot and considering today is the summer solstice (the earliest one in 228 years), it’s definitely going to be a song I’ll be blasting by my own bonfire tonight.

With that said, you absolutely need to check out Cornelius’s work. I’m confident you’ll find it just as fun and entertaining as I have. Here’s hoping for a full-length album in the future/

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Scott