Black Music Matters Festival

Randy Weeks

Madeline – 2000 (HighTone)

Reviewed by Stuart Munro

CDs by Randy Weeks

Ex-Lonesome Stranger Randy Weeks returns to action with this solo release. Those looking for Lonesome Strangers redux are likely to be disappointed, however. Weeks's singing duty in that band was mainly to contribute to its hillbilly harmony; here, his distinctive, reedy voice stands on in its own. Here, too, Weeks provides his own clutch of songs, instead of (for the most part) singing on those of former partner Jeff Rymes. The result is more diverse material - the soulful "Baby You Have to Choose" and "Gimme Back My Soul;" the ominous-sounding title track; the slow, beautiful, sweeping love-lost song "If I Cut You;" the big shuffle beat of "Last DWI;" "Can't Let Go," which rocks out a bit more than last year's cover version by Lucinda Williams; "Get Back to Me," the most Strangers-like tune on the disc - that still exudes an unmistakable, Town-South-of-Bakersfield vibe.

While this disc may not reach right out and grab you, it's an unassuming yet engaging piece of rootsy rock, pop 'n' soul.