Randall Bramblett

Rich Someday

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    8
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AllMusic Review by

For his third album on New West, singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Randall Bramblett delivers another terrific set of intelligent, folk-inflected Southern rock. Drummer Gerry Hansen replaces Michael Rhodes as producer and he helps position the sound to be more direct and stripped down than on past Bramblett releases. There are fewer loops and not as much layering of instruments, which makes the approach more immediate, but no less affecting. Bramblett's honey and grits voice perfectly conveys the feeling of loss that runs through the melancholy lyrics of tunes such as the lovely "The More You Fade," "Hate to See You Go," and the opening "Where Are You Tonight?" That's not to infer that these songs are depressing. On the contrary, the predominantly midtempo arrangements and melodic choruses are inviting, and even on the forlorn "Stupid Shoes" the swampy vibe is as compelling as anything from ex-employer Steve Winwood. Each track is a mini-story as Bramblett's earthy yet often dreamy lyrics and rootsy instrumentation enhance the muted colors. The "oil spot" that leads off "Oil Spot" is obviously a metaphor for something much different, but it is never explained. There are a few more rockers than usual, in particular the rollicking title track and "Queen of England," the only tune where Bramblett unleashes his sax. Instead, Bramblett's keyboards and acoustic guitar flavor the songs, all of which are beautifully arranged and immaculately, but not soullessly performed. Hansen's creative drum fills and longtime associate Davis Causey's less-is-more electric guitar solos hug the curves of the material and flesh out the melodies. Bramblett's moody ballads dominate with "It's Alright," one of the most stunning tunes despite its rather simplistic title. Repeated plays yield increased enjoyment as the songs gradually take hold and the lyrical turns and musical subtleties like the humming background vocals in "Somebody Like Me" become more apparent. For an artist who has stayed under the radar for too long, Rich Someday deserves to be the album to put talented veteran Bramblett on the map.

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