Black Music Matters Festival

Randy Rogers Band

Trouble – 2013 (MCA Nashville)

Reviewed by Robert Wooldridge

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CDs by Randy Rogers Band

With "Trouble" the Randy Rogers Band seems to be attempting to straddle the line between hard-edged Texas alternative country and slick Nashville mainstream. Rogers is at his best when he sticks to alt.-country, as with the rocker Fuzzy in which he vaguely recalls the alcohol influenced events from the previous evening ("Who the hell is Heather/And when were we together/Cause I've got every letter of her name on my chest"). Similarly the bluesy Shotgun ("Wickedness and whiskey were my fuel") and the ballad Had To Give That Up Too ("I miss the taste, I miss the high/And the way it made me burn inside") nicely address the effects of over indulgence.

Ballads such as Never Got Around to That and One More Sad Song effectively feature slicker production. Some tunes suffer from over production, including Speak of the Devil and Don't Deserve You. Even the contribution of Willie Nelson can't save the muddled Trouble Knows My Name, particularly with harmonies toward the end of the song on which Rogers and Nelson sing at the same time, but don't appear to be listening to each other as their voices do not blend at all.

Though there are some individual strong tracks and performances on "Trouble" some fans of the Randy Rogers Band's earlier work may be disappointed by the inconsistent approach.