Randall Bramblett,
Rich Someday
(New West, 2006)

Ably served by producer/drummer Gerry Hansen, music-business veteran and road warrior Randall Bramblett (guitars, assorted keyboards) offers up 13 solid songs, all of which he wrote or co-wrote, recorded with his touring band, consisting -- no surprise -- of pure pros. The sound is mostly mainstream guitar rock, with soul, r&b and folk inflections. None of this sounds radically inventive, and you'd have to be sternly misanthropic to object to any of it. It's all good melodies, good lyrics and good arrangements, and Bramblett's graceful, expressive vocals charm the ears.

A whole lot of the material, however, sounds to my hearing like the Beatles in their folk-rock moments. How you feel about that will depend, I'm sure, on whether you have an insatiable hunger for Beatles-style sounds. My need in that regard is less than overwhelming, but I suppose that's just me, and Bramblett is good enough not to have to apologize for his influences.

For my taste, I'll take the irresistible "Stupid Shoes" (written with Davis Causey), which is nothing like the above. It's the sort of song that will play like a soundtrack in your head as you stroll, stumble, and stagger through the day, pondering the eternal questions "who am I, what the hell am I doing and where do I think I'm going?" Call it existential rock if you must, but "Stupid" is one very smart song.

by Jerome Clark
2 September 2006

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