Album Review

Randy Weeks - Madeline

Randy Weeks - Madeline

On the fourth listen -- and that's an easy thing to do for such a solidly produced and heartfelt disc -- it dawns on me who Randy Weeks' voice reminds me of. The question has dogged me for the last few days, and then it hits me: John Linnell, the scratchy tenor of They Might Be Giants, but without, thank the Lord, the minor-key quirks. This is a straight-up document of a man looking for answers, and confronting them no matter how harsh the reality. On his solo debut, Weeks -- formerly of Los Angeles band Lonesome Strangers and writer of Lucinda Williams' minor hit "Can't Let Go" -- delivers lyrics that are introspective without being inaccessible, and guitar solos (some provided by cohort Tony Gilkyson) that play off the melody without diverging too far afield. The fat bass lines of Kip Boardman and hard-driving rhythms of drummer Don Heffington offer a slick and heavy bottom without sinking the ship. A cover song might have helped put things in perspective, but as it is, the dozen originals are all different and yet have a pleasant consistency that never grows wearisome. The polished kick-off "Motor City" sets the standard for the rest. "Don't Step Away" and "Last DWI" in the middle of the disc stick to the ribs; the title song is both haunting and refreshing. Even the ballads are cool. With controlled arrangements, reverby guitars and the occasional soulful Hammond, Weeks successfully straddles the space between roots and pop.
Artist Randy Weeks
Album Madeline
Label HighTone
Author Buzz Mcclain
Other tags Issue #27