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Randall King

Randall King – 2018 ( Self-released)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Randall King

The second self-released effort of West Texas native Randall King is a throwback to mainstream '90s country with mixed results. King has a pleasant singing voice reminiscent of Randy Travis or George Strait, but at times the material is cliched and several tracks suffer from Nashville overproduction.

King is at his best on ballads on which he keeps the production relatively unadorned as with "Mirror, Mirror" and "One Goodbye," which sound like they could have been hits for Strait in an earlier era. Perhaps the strongest track is the closing "Reason to Quit" (co-written with Bobby Terry) in which King accepts some advice ("I was smoking like a chimney/They said that it would kill me/So I gave in and quit them cigarettes"), but rejects suggestions that he should forget a lost loved one ("From the outside looking in it might look like I've lost my mind/But this is just my way of keeping her alive").

Some upper tempo tracks ("Her Miss Me Days are Gone" and "Dent In It") are hampered by processed vocals and overproduction, while "Break It" ("If it ain't broke, break it/If it's there for the taking, take it") and "Tuggin' On My Heartstrings" ("Blowing my money on Friday night/Waking up hurting from drunk bar fights") are a bit hackneyed.

King produced and is nicely supported throughout by Nashville session players including multi-instrumentalist Terry (steel guitar, electric guitar, Dobro, mandolin), Evan Hutchings (drums), Jimmy Carter (bass), John Wendell Lancaster (keyboards) and Jenee Fleenor (fiddle, mandolin). Despite the occasional misstep, this eponymous effort should appeal to fans of mainstream '90s country.