Album Review

Randy Kohrs - Im Torn

Randy Kohrs - Im Torn

Randy Kohrs is a talented, distinctive dobroist and singer whos appeared on a growing list of albums by bluegrass, Americana and main-stream country artists alike. For many musicians, that might be enough, but Kohrs has a bigger role in mind, and his third solo album finds him not only playing and singing lead, but producing, engineering, and writing or co-writing almost all of the material. Its a bold move, but in most respects, Kohrs pulls it off with distinction. Though Kohrs is a broad-ranging musician his last album consisted of vintage honky-tonk he sticks pretty much to bluegrass on Im Torn, with the exception of a classic-sounding acoustic country duet with Dolly Parton on the Carl Jackson and Pam Tillis divorce story It Looked Good On Paper and the bittersweet Fifty Good Years. Helping out are two different sets of musicians, one consisting of players familiar to anyone keeping an eye on the bluegrass scene, the other of up-and-coming youngsters who, one suspects, will be familiar soon, including the superb Patton Wages on banjo and mandolin phenom Aaron Ramsey. Kohrs has always had a unique melodic sense and edgy tone to his playing, and theres plenty of that here. Those who have heard him only as a harmony singer will be pleased to find his leads are strong and expressive. Given the time hes devoted to these aspects, it will perhaps come as no surprise that his songwriting much of it done with Susan Hill has yet to reach the same level. There are some well-crafted melodies and neat structures among the albums nine originals, but there are also some rough edges in the lyrics to several of the songs. But Kohrs conviction and the sympathetic support of his accompanists are enough to carry past them.