Album: Hold My Beer, Volume 1
Artists: Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen
About: 10 songs; 39 minutes
Choice: Deliberate Obfuscation
This is a 5 hook album. It was somewhere between Austin, Texas and Kansas City, Missouri that I made a connection with Hold My Beer, Vol 1. For me, it is a well known truism that gas stop convenience stores on any road trip offer the flavor of the territory. They have been the source of many of my favorite post cards that highlight the stereotypes that you may expect of whatever location you are in. It’s not mean-spirited, but more boastful – we are what we are, darn it!
Anyway, this one particular stop had a rotating rack of CDs labelled something like “regional music.” Within that rack was Hold My Beer, Volume 1 by Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers. I pulled that one out to have a look (hook # 1 = catchy title). The cover was pretty great too (aka hook #2): stark landscape, single building, two guys (one with a guitar case; one with a satchel) looking like they are skedaddling someplace. The reverse listed the 10 tracks, which also piqued my interest (hook # 3 catchy song titles: Reasons to Quit, Standards, Hangin’ Out in Bars, It’s Been a Great Afternoon). So what did I do? I put it back in the rack and got back in the car and off we went. Sometimes I just am not reasonable.
Regret immediately set in. I should have bought it. About five miles later, I put that baby in my webstore shopping cart and brought it into my library. I regret that I did not make the purchase from the store. They should be supported for putting some interesting music choices out there. I hope I have learned my lesson.
So how is the album? This, readers, is your classic Texas country album. This is Tom T. Hall and Waylon and Buck Owens and Charlie Rich. This is fiddles, steel pedal guitar, honky tonk piano, and lots of picking and twang. They are songs that you can follow the lyrics like a Jimmy Buffet song, and you get a flavor of who these guys are. Even if this music is not your bottle of beer, it would be difficult to listen to this and not want to sit down and here these guys exchange stories. Where do you hear someone so pleased with who they are and what they are that they openly declare:
Well we’re not sure how we got here
But somehow we stuck around
Some days I feel like we can fly
And some days I think we’ll drown
I guess what they say is true
All you need is one good friend
And in the next life, we wanna be ourselves again
I don’t know either Randy Rogers or Wade Brown, but apparently they have substantial solo acts and this collaboration is their labor of fun. It sounds as much. This is one of those albums where you hear the smiling as these two guys and their band play. They tackle all of the classics: telling the record man to take his ideas and shove ’em, tagging a know it all boss as a certified S.O.B., and being able to turn a morning with a first class hang-over into a great afternoon (hook #4).
Oddly enough, in reviewing the album, Dan found out that Randy Rogers will be in Kansas City next week and he put the date on our calendar. Turns out that Dan likes these guys as much as I did. He nicely associates what we heard on this album to what we saw with our own eyes in a honky tonk in Austin.
Just as our last album was not my jam but I could open up my ears to it, this one was the same. These good ol’ guys hooked me (hook #5). They also made me ready for another road trip of discovery.
Next up: Special Effects, by Tech N9ne