Album Review: Randy Rogers Band - Trouble
By: Matt Bjorke
For many fans in Texas and Oklahoma, the release of new music from Randy Rogers Band is often an event to cherish. The band has scored multiple #1 hits in the region including a pair of chart-topping hits from this new album, Trouble. The lead-single from Trouble, "No More Sad Songs," was released last fall and became the band's biggest national hit to date, giving Randy Rogers Band their first Top 40 hit. In the southwest it was a #1 radio hit with "Trouble Knows My Name" following suit earlier this year.
Trouble represents the band's first collaboration with hot producer Jay Joyce, a producer who knows a thing or two about working with bands with collaborations with The Wallflowers, Cage The Elephant and Emmylou Harris to his credit in addition to working with The Warren Brothers, Eric Church, Thomas Rhett, and is particularly noted for his work with Eric Church and the recent breakout of Little Big Town via their Tornado album. What Jay Joyce brought to those other collections of music, he brings to Randy Rogers Band, making their music sound vibrant and fresh without ever losing the identity that fans have come to love from them.
"Fuzzy" - the single sent to radio at the time Trouble is hitting stores - shows off a rocking, rollicking side of RRB that's been there but never reallythere before (and works as a nice partner to the upcoming The Hangover 3 film and on "Speak Of The Devil," RRB shows off some indie-like piano arrangement backing up lyrics that Randy Rogers Band does better than any other current band, that's to wring heartbreaking emotion out of a song. It's a unique trait that is enhanced by Rogers own voice, perhaps more than the songs themselves. "One More Sad Song" perhaps showcases Jay Joyce's presence more than others with interesting guitar parts mixed with a booming, chorus and strains of heartbreaking fiddle from Brady Black while the lyrics are indeed discussing a depressing heartbreak but in this one, it's like he's waiting for the other shoe to drop "I've got a feeling that you're almost all gone." The vocal echo effect from Joyce may be 'slick' but it helps give the track an eery sort of feeling, all the more enhanced by the guitars and fiddles and overall sound of the track.
Texas dance halls are going to eat up "If I Had Another Heart" while "Had To Give That Up" with the mourning fiddle and organ and guitar effects may be just about the most painful lyrical song of Randy Rogers career too, With a lyric which finds him realizing that he had to leave certain things behind him, including drugs and a caustic relationship because they weren't good for him ("I loved it more more than it loved me, kinda like you, I had to give that up too."
"Shotgun" has a sound that reminds me of a sonic cousin to Bon Jovi's "Wanted Dead Or Alive" while "Flash Flood" recalls some of the great songs The Band put out through the years. Trouble is the kind of album that should help expand Randy Rogers Band's national reputation and hopefully that means it'll also deliver the band a true National breakthrough that has long been just out of reach for the tight-knit band.
Switching from mentor Radney Foster on the early records to Paul Worley for 2010's Burning The Day to Jay Joyce for Trouble may seem like a band searching to find themselves but in reality, it is just a band that's evolving as much as their 'experimenting' with the sounds on the albums and while not exactly the same sounds that fans may have come to expect through the years, Trouble is an album that showcases a band fully in control of their career and musical output, different collaborators or not.