Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen - Watch This
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Watch This (Lil Buddy Toons, 2016)

Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen

Reviewed by Lee Zimmerman

Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen's follow up to their excellent 2015 studio effort "Hold My Beer: Vol. 1" is a live acoustic set recorded at the House of Blues in Dallas and Cheatham Street Warehouse in San Marcos, Texas. The duo alternate singing tunes primarily from their respective solo careers, at times lending harmony vocals to the other's performances. Aside from Kyle Wieters adding harmonica to "West Texas Rain," Bowen's moving reflection on his life's successes and failures ("I've found a few answers/I've still got questions/Kept it together and fallen apart"), all the instrumentation is provided by the duo's acoustic guitars.

The strongest are the ones featuring harmonies, such as Bowen's "Songs About Trucks" and "You Had Me At My Best." Other tracks demonstrate the devotion of the crowd and familiarity with the songs as with Rogers' "Interstate" and "Too Late For Goodbye," which become singalongs.

There is also plenty of amusing banter between the pair, in particular when Bowen declares "My favorite thing to do is go through a drive through at Whataburger with a hundred dollar bill and say 'give me all the ketchup you got'" (which Rogers confirms is a true story), as well as joking about being occasionally misidentified on signs outside of venues where they are booked as "Wade Bowman" or "Roy Rogers."

The one weakness of the project is the liner notes, which lack specificity on when the recordings were made and feature no writing credits. Rogers introduces the Radney Foster/George Ducas composition "Kiss Me in the Dark" by thanking songwriter Foster ("I just don't know if I would be here if it wasn't for Radney Foster") but for the most part no attributions are given.

With well chosen tunes and strong performances, this raw, acoustic collaboration between Rogers and Bowen make for a fun listen and worthy successor to "Hold My Beer."

CDs by Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen

Hold My Beer, Vol. 2, 2020 Watch This, 2016 Hold My Beer: Vol. 1, 2015

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