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Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen

Hold My Beer, Vol. 2 – 2020 ( Self-released)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen

As its title suggests, this 12-song Randy Rogers and Wade Bowen duet album is a mostly lighthearted affair. Whether the pair is only slightly concerned about unhealthy behaviors with "Habits" or jesting about the world's ever-changing culture on "Let Merle Be Merle," these country singers consistently come off like good old boys having a casual conversation over beers. Even friendship - an inarguable human essential - is covered with the breezy, western swing number "Mi Amigo." Only "This Ain't My Town" adopts a more serious tone to chronicle the unwelcome ways time alters our familiar surroundings.

Musically, this album sticks to straightforwardly traditional country accompaniments. "Speak To Me Jukebox," which personifies that omnipresent barroom music machine, name-drops a long list of honky tonk country favorites. The song bops along nicely and would fit right in with the setlist it details. The hurtin' songs just don't hurt too much, either. "Warm Beer" jokingly finds a guy who has warm beer and a cold woman, but wishes "it was the other way around."

The title track closes out the project by applying a rocking electric guitar backing. It has a Southern rock feel to it, although it's far more easy going than, say, Lynyrd Skynyrd's early youthful aggression. Its ultimatum is filled with mildly threatening statements, rather than fighting words.

Rogers and Bowen are certainly not breaking any new ground with this enjoyable effort. Nevertheless, this collection finds these two country music lovers gently tilling some mighty rich soil.