Album Review – Randy Rogers Band’s “Homecoming”


If you’re looking for the band that truly defines what Texas country music is today at its zenith of appeal and popularity, it’s the Randy Rogers Band, period. Koe Wetzel may get a few more people through doors, and a few more bras thrown on stage these days, but that’s not really country. Other great bands have certainly come out of Texas, but they end up becoming something else, and more synonymous with Nashville or country music in general, as opposed to a distinctive Lone Star State sound. The Randy Rogers Band has always guarded Texas. They are the official house band of Texas.

And if you’re looking for a record that truly defines the Randy Rogers Band, Back home may not be a bad choice, even if it comes out here 20 years after their tenure. On this album, they do what the Randy Rogers Band does best, which is to deliver songs that are immediately engaging, emotionally involved, and don’t ask too much of the audience. To usher in their third decade as a group, they leaned even further into their original approach, evoking their own style and music as an influence in an effort emblematic of their previous songs and albums that have become synonymous with the Texas sound. .

If we’re being honest, the Randy Rogers Band never ventures too far. Songs from this album like “Nothing But Love Songs” on the radio playing sappy tunes while you try to mend a broken heart, or “Leaving Side of Town” about cheating on your lover, or “Small Town Girl Goodbye “, they all work on long-established country themes and tropes, even if the words themselves are original. This promotes the feeling of nostalgia, but it only occasionally dips below the surface where deeper, more fulfilling moments can be found.

There is an element of security and predictability in the music of the Randy Rogers Band, and Back home More precisely. But in this case, perhaps “security” and “predictability” shouldn’t necessarily be seen as pejoratives. The approach to this record was to work in fashions of the past, almost like a retrospective, just rendered in new material, with another Texas musical institution in Radney Foster administering the effort as producer – a role that he also played throughout the years for the Randy Rogers Band when they were building the foundations they proudly stand on today.

The music is that of the Randy Rogers Band and nothing more. It’s almost all mid-tempo, with the Texas fiddle still present in the songs, and a few guitar solos interspersed with fairly standard verse/chorus structures. No outside players were called in, although some of these songs call for a steel guitar solo or something else. But they wanted to stay true to the sound they had established and what you see live, which is a pragmatic hybrid of country, rock and just enough adult pop to command attention.

The advantage of this particular album is that each of the eleven titles holds a strong attraction, and from the outset. After 20 years, they knew what they were doing, and they know how to do it very well. Bringing in co-writers like Drew Kennedy for “Picture Frames” makes for a more meaningful moment. The only song not co-written by Randy Rogers is “Fast Car” by Randy Montana, Wendell Mobley, Lee Miller, and may make some Americana fans roll their eyes, but it’s nonetheless one of those songs that sounds like to a classic in the musical universe of Randy Rogers/Texas.

Parker McCollum, John Bauman, Jack Ingram, Radney Foster and other stalwarts from Texas and beyond also contribute songwriting. Back homebut this album remains all Randy Rogers Band, which means some fans in countries beyond Texas may not quite understand the appeal, call it similar to traditional country just with a bit more roots, or say that there just isn’t enough substance to grab their attention.

But in Texas and among the diaspora of Texas country fans living beyond state lines, the Randy Rogers Band is the compass of what Texas country is all about, and Back home is as splendid an example of this as any, with gripping appeal in every track, never letting you down and illustrating everything Texas country is meant to be.

1 1/2 barrels up (7.3/10)

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