Justin McCorkle discusses new project, family business


Published: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 1:13 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, May 1, 2013 at 1:13 p.m.

Justin McCorkle was born into one of Spartanburg's finest musical families, but the family business wasn't pushed onto him.

Justin McCorkle Band
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Justin McCorkle Band

Justin McCorkle Band will perform 8 p.m. Friday at Harrah's Cherokee Stage at Spring Fling.

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Facts

Want to go?

Who: Justin McCorkle Band
When: 8 p.m. Friday
Where: Harrah's Cherokee Stage, Spring Fling
Tickets: Free
Info: http://www.cityofspartanburg.org/spring-fling

In fact, another potential occupation was.

"Golf is something that was pushed on me. I have, or had, a very natural swing," McCorkle said. "My parents really wanted me to do that. To this day that's what my mother will tell you that she wanted me to be. She wanted me to be a pro golfer."

"Looking back, that tended to be a lot more lucrative in many instances."

After several years of touring nationally with his cousins, McCorkle is back in Spartanburg with a new group of musicians, the Justin McCorkle Band, and will perform their debut show at Spring Fling. The group plays at 8 p.m. Friday on the Harrah's Cherokee Stage near the clock tower.

McCorkle joined the Southern Boys Band with his cousins from Birmingham, Ala., and the group is still together, though they are taken a little break from the road.

Instead of doing nothing, McCorkle, who has already signed a recording contract with Garage Door Records and plans to release a single later in the summer, cobbled together a group of locally-based musicians for this new project. He's joined by J.J. Guerrieri (lead and rhythm guitar), Alison Turner Watson (flute, keys, vocals), Michael Wilkerson (bass) and Michael Johnson (drums and percussion).

"This being a new project, we want to play some local places and hang out in town with our friends and families," McCorkle said. "We have Southern rock, blues, country, rock ’n’ roll and metal influences. That's what made me pick these players out."

Their first show will be a mix of covers and originals and expect there to be some Marshall Tucker Band tunes played.

"We'll definitely play some Marshall Tucker Band. It will be a staple of ours with whatever we do," said McCorkle, whose father, George, was one of the band's founding members. "It's great that people trust in me enough to fulfill that legacy and carry that on."

The house in Spartanburg where McCorkle grew up was full of music. A guitar sat in almost every room, tunes filled the air, gold records and photos adorned the walls.

By his teenage years, he knew he wanted to play professionally, but he went to college and got a degree to be an IT technician.

"Music wasn't pushed upon me. It was something that I didn't know life without," McCorkle said. "It's something that came very natural to me."

This new project blends a lot of McCorkle's loves, from Southern rock to blues. His rhythm section told him once they were amazed they were "rockin' out to the blues."

McCorkle knows that debuting a band in his hometown, especially on a big stage like Spring Fling, will be nerve-wracking. Still, he's happy to play this music in his hometown.

"I thought about it for quite a while and when the other band took a break, I thought that this would be a good opportunity for me to go back to my roots and where I'm from," he said. "I've got a lot (here) that means a lot to me."

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