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Randy Thompson
That's Not Me

Review By Steven Stone
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Randy Thompson That's Not Me

CD Number: Jackpot/Leaps Records LCD-1105 

 

  People are always talking about "authentic" country music, but when pinned to the wall, most never come up with a good definition of what they mean. I know better. When I find myself heading down the slippery slope decrying the sorry state of contemporary country music, I just put on Randy Thompson's new CD That's Not Me.  Randy captures the essence of "authentic" country music without working up a sweat. His music has swagger with substance, twang with meaning.

With musicians you can tell a lot by the company they keep. Randy Thompson surrounds himself with some fine fellow travelers. Rickie Simpkins on fiddle, Mike Auldridge on steel guitar, Rick West on guitar, bass, piano, and mandolin, Andy Hamburger on drums, Garrick Alden on lead guitar, bass, and mandolin, and Maura Kennedy on harmony vocals join Thompson's strong vocals and tasteful acoustic guitar. Besides lead vocals, Thompson contributes eight of the nine songs on the disc. The title cut "It's Not Me" could be a sure-fire hit for whatever stadium hat-act with enough savvy enough to cover it. The combination of bittersweet lyrics coupled with infectious melody two-steps its way into your being.  My favorite selection on the disc is "Dance Until Dawn." It kicks off with a powerful guitar lick followed pell-mell by a veritable wall of electric guitar twang. The solo located mid tune epitomizes how Thompson's music is different from the usual Nashville fare; instead of a guitar pyrotechnics you get a basic melodic solo that ain't slick, but fits the song perfectly.

Production values on That's Not Me are far better than you'd expect from a small label release. Garrick Allen deserves much of the credit for the sonics. Her wears a double-sided cowboy hat of co-producer and engineer on five of the nine cuts. Rick West takes over producer/engineer duties for three cuts, and Pete Kennedy takes the reins for one selection. Like the music itself, the sound here is straightforward and honest, direct and clear, without too much tarting up or sweetening to blunt its visceral effect.

If Buck Owens and early Dwight Yoakum gets you off, you're gonna' love Randy Thompson. He understands what it takes to make authentic country music that's special.

 

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