Randy Thompson

Further On

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    5
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Randy Thompson is from Clifton, VA, a town in the music-rich Piedmont region and is no relation to the Christian rocker of the same name. In the last four years he's been crisscrossing the American southland with his band playing his tunes and earning his share of rave reviews. He still lives in his hometown of Clifton part-time, so that may be why you've never heard of him. Thompson is a good songwriter and a singer with an understated, down-home vocal style. His music includes elements of folk, country, bluegrass, honky tonk, and blues, so you'd probably drop him in the Americana pigeonhole, and it's a comfortable fit. "Molly and Tenbrooks," a Steve Gillette composition adapted from a traditional tune, rides a loping Waylon Jennings beat and features tasty mandolin fills by Rickie Simpkins. "Leave the Light On" is a poignant drinkin' song that strips the romance off the bottle and lets us know what happens when the good old boy finally staggers home. "Further On" is a Texas waltz that contemplates the peace of the afterlife; Thompson's weary vocals have just the right combination of hope and resignation to put the song across. "Songbird," one of the album's best tracks, is a country rocker driven by banjo, aggressive electric guitar, and Thompson's poignant vocal. "Ol' 97" is a bluegrass rocker based on the familiar train song; "Riptide" laments the loss of a faithless lover, while "Don't You See" finds the singer lamenting the loss of a good woman, knowing it's all his own fault. The band here is solid, with Don Helms, one of Hank Williams' original Drifting Cowboys sitting in on steel guitar on two tracks, but there's nothing out of the ordinary going on here. It's a solid effort, but lacks the spark that would elevate it to the next level.

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