We have recently had the pleasure of Aaron Watson performing on a mini tour of the UK. Another major player of the Texas music scene, Randy Rogers, has now released his sixth studio album.
Both are independent artists, although Rogers has decided to go it alone after four albums with Universal. Both have a very loyal following and have retained band members for the duration. Randy Rogers proudly states that the same five guys have been on stage together for 13 years.
However this is their first studio album for 3 years. We can expect healthy sales; their last 4 albums have hit the top ten in the country charts and at the time of writing this review, ‘Nothing Shines Like Neon’ is sitting at #5 in the Billboard Country Album chart.
This album features contributions from Alison Krauss, Jamey Johnson and Jerry Jeff Walker, and Rogers describes it as his most traditional country album to date.
The opener ‘San Antone’ sets the tone. A mid-tempo, fiddle-backed delight that would not be out of place on a Tim McGraw album and describes their affection for the Texan city. A very strong opener and definitely one of the stand out moments on the record.
‘Rain and the Radio’ follows. We are almost in Steely Dan territory with the guitar riffs and groove that drives this song, telling the story of a couple who find themselves conveniently holed up alone in a remote house.
The fiddle returns for the first single release ‘Neon Blues’. An album highlight and a song that will certainly appeal to country radio and the mainstream market.
Another personal favourite is ‘Things I Need To Quit’, a mid-tempo guitar driven tune that tells the story of a failed relationship – “Got some habits I need to quit. You’re at the top of my list”.
There is an overall mellow feel to the album and the duet with Alison Krauss, ‘Look Out Yonder’ is a beautiful song. As is ‘Tequila eyes’, a lightly strung foot-tapper that will have you hooked instantly
The mellow tracks certainly work better than the up-beat ‘Taking it as it comes’, Rogers’ duet with Jerry Jeff Walker. A track destined and written for the live stage but for my UK ears one that strays too close to the Status Quo style of rock and roll.
We return to the mid-tempo styles on ‘Old Moon New’ and ‘Meet me Tonight’, the latter featuring a very impressive slide guitar backing.
There is a honky-tonk style to the last duet ‘Actin Crazy’, featuring Jamey Johnson. Another track that will work the crowd at Rogers’ frequent live shows in the US.
The 11-track album ends with ‘Pour One For The Poor One”. Probably the most out-and-out traditional country track on offer. A true country drinking song.
It would be ideal if our support for live country music this side of the pond could persuade Randy Rogers Band to bring their show to the UK. This album may provide the spring board. It’s solid, contains a fine collection of songs and is well worth checking out.