Artist: Randall King
Album: Randall King
Genre: Neo-Traditional Country
This week I’m featuring an artist who has garnered kudos from both Garth Brooks and award-winning singer-songwriter Anthony Smith (co-writer of “Run” & “Cowboys Like Us” recorded and made famous by George Strait). Smith has been quoted saying that “Randall King has a great voice that sounds classic, yet is fresh, and as a songwriter, he has something to say–be it something that touches your heart or something simple and fun that makes you wanna get out and raise some hell.” Brooks has mentioned King in his “Inside Studio G” Facebook live series and has even co-written a song with him called “The Road I’m On” for his highly anticipated 2019 album. With artists of that calibre backing you, you must have something good going for you.
Randall King’s self-titled album is what I would consider the perfect segway from the “bro-country” movement we’ve all been too familiar with. Growing up in the West Texas Plains a fourth generation hay-hauler, King doesn’t just sing country, he’s lived it. His neo-traditional sound is very familiar because, like a lot of us, King was raised on some of the best singers country music has seen such as Keith Whitley, George Strait, and Alan Jackson. He embraces the artists and the music that came before him and builds on it, singing songs that have meaning and depth. Specifically with “When He Knows Me,” a heartbreaking song about Alzheimer’s inspired by his grandfather.
While many of the songs on this album go much deeper than what we’re used to hearing on the radio these days, King also clearly has a sense of humour which we see displayed through “Dent In It” and “Break It.” A quality reminiscent of both George Strait and Alan Jackson who weren’t afraid to add a little wit into the mix either. Keith Whitley’s melancholy heartache comes through in King’s songs as well with “Mirror, Mirror,” and “Reason To Quit.”
Overall, this album is a bit of a blast from the past, almost seeming to slip into the 90s country blanket unnoticed. Almost. I have a deep appreciation for artists that not only respect the music that came before them but embrace it as their own, and Randall King does just that. No, King isn’t a carbon copy of what came before him, you can hear precisely what makes him who he is as an artist through his many influences and that’s what sets him apart from just being a 90s country revivalist.