by Al Kaufman
Kirk McMillan is an earnest guy. While listening to bands in Memphis in 2002, he decided something was missing from his life. So when he got back home to Atlanta, he quit his family’s food business and bought and learned how to play a guitar. He quickly penned "Corporate Cross," about how a job can become a person’s religion.
From there it all snowballed until American Dreamworld came to fruition. Yes, the CD almost crumbles under the weight of all the important issues McMillan could not wait to address. It is a typical flaw with debut CDs. But McMillan more than makes up for it with his musicianship. He has a penchant for mixing white boy funk with an 80’s groove. He sometimes wanders dangerously close to Styx country, both in vocals and instrumentation, but he never fully crosses over into the show tune realm that Dennis DeYoung and company favored. McMillan instead keeps a foot firmly placed in the pop world of catchy choruses and full-flavored melodies.
Yes, his earnestness is sometimes grating, but McMillan walks the walk. His Kirk4kids charity gives money to many local organizations that work with children, and almost every concert he does is a benefit for someone. He is like an alcoholic who has found sobriety and wants to share it with everyone. You’re happy for him, and sometimes listening to him makes you feel good, but there’s still something to be said for talking to the drunk in the corner.