Sunday, January 24, 2016

Hold My Beer, Vol. 1, by Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen (Album of the Week)

            This album is a turducken of happiness for me.  On the outside, it’s a fine (damned fine, actually) group of fun country songs with all the classic country accouterments of steel guitar, fiddles and calling your boss an SOB. 

At the next level of happiness, we first encountered it in a Texas truck stop in a rack near the cash register.  While we gutlessly wound up buying it online off Amazon a few miles down the road after checking a couple ratings, we saw it first in its natural habitat – a Texas truck stop.

The final level of happiness is that I encountered this on the way back from a road trip to Texas – and, more specifically and importantly for the purposes of this album, a walk to Donn’sDepot in Austin, where I saw that the honky-tonking, boot-scooting world still exists in a non-ironic, non-mythologized state where little old ladies dance seriously with big men in cowboy shirts.  If I hadn’t seen it for myself, I would have thought that Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers’ style of music was a tribute to a by-gone life instead of a good time reflection of a slice of reality.

The album title, “Hold My Beer”, is a reference to the old saw that a redneck’s last words are “Hold my beer and watch this.”  What follows is presumably a reckless act of foolishness and personal danger, resulting in a trip to the hospital or morgue.  In the liner notes, the explanation of what you have here is fleshed out a bit:
When this project started, we had absolutely no idea what we truly wanted, other than to make real, country music.  . . . It was an absolute blast making this album, going back to our country roots and just enjoying making music for the right reasons.  We sure hope you hear that when you listen.  . . . We love playing music for you and hope to do so for as long as possible.
 “Hold my beer and watch this, lil’ buddy . . . and in the next life, we wanna be ourselves again”
 This album is a warm, friendly, fun-loving good time country album.  There are none of the country clichés that annoy me (nationalism, misogyny, macho stupidity), but lots of the country clichés that fit as comfortably as well-worn jeans (heartbreak, friends, hanging out in bars). 

Through tricks of geography, city-living, musical narrow-mindedness and general ignorance, I had never heard of either Wade Bowen or Randy Rogers before we happened across their album off a highway in rural Texas.  It appears that they are big deals in that part of the country and elsewhere – in fact, moments ago, I learned that the Randy Rogers Band will be performing at the Uptown next Saturday, January 30.

Clearly, serendipity is afoot. 

            Over at Deliberate Obfuscation, Robin finds herself hooked by these good ol’ guys and shares my sense of good fortune at having stumbled across their music.  She takes the blame for not buying it off the rack, but I was there, too.  To make it up to each other, we'll have a date night at the Uptown next Saturday.

Next up:  Special Effects, by Tech N9ne

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