Randy Rogers Band - Burning The Day
By: Matt Bjorke
With Their third major label album Burning The Day, the Randy Rogers Band has switched from UMG Nashville’s Mercury shingle to their other label, the prestigious MCA Nashville. While this switch probably doesn’t mean too much more than leveling out the label rosters for both these major country labels, it is a symbolic change in my mind as well as Burning The Day is the first time Paul Worley has helmed the producer’s chair for the band, after Radney Foster helmed the last three albums Rollercoaster, Just A Matter of Time and Randy Rogers Band.
The producer change hasn’t changed the Randy Rogers Band’s sound at all but it has helped to enhance it. After working these songs into their live shows and rehearsing them prior to hitting the studio, the Randy Rogers Band confidently recorded them in a live setting, playing at once before later going in to ‘fix’ some stuff that may have come off wrong. This process is the way bands used to routinely record and it leaves Burning The Day feeling more raw, intimate and like their live show.
“Interstate” kicks off the record and it finds Randy in the middle of a rumination about how his vagabond life on the road and how when he’s off the road all he wants to do is be with his wife. It’s an interesting song about the life of a ‘travelin’ band’ member and how often they lose precious time with the ones they love when they only get one day at home in a week. It’s a sweet, unique love song about living in the moment and not wanting that moment to end. First single “Too Late For Goodbye” is a strong song that finds the narrator proactively telling his girlfriend that the relationship is finally over saying :
It’s too late, it’s all gone
You had your chance, you took too long
Like you always do, I won’t wait for you
It’s not a game, it’s not your choice
Must be strange, to hear my voice
Saying don’t come back this time,
It’s too late for goodbye
This is the kind of song that is different for mainstream radio yet it should fit right in. Randy Rogers has a distinctive voice; his band members (guitarist Geoffrey Hill, fiddler Brady Black, drummer Les Lawless and bassist Jon Richardson) have distinctive ways of working their instruments clearly into the mix, with Black and Hill clearly getting to show-off their stellar chops.
Featuring a lot of spectacular steel guitar fills in addition to Black’s fiddle fills is “Missing You Is More Than I Can Do.” It is a traditionalist country ballad about a man who knows that he cannot tie the woman of his dreams down in their small hometown as she yearns to live in the lights of a big city. It may not be the most original of lyrics but the way the song is constructed should leave traditionalists saying ‘now this is country music.’ “Just Don’t Tell Me the Truth” is another sonically pleasing rumination about the end of a relationship with a guy who really doesn’t want to know that his relationship is over.
“Steal You Away” touches another familiar topic, one that Mark McGuinn took to the Top 5 with “Mrs. Steven Rudy.” Drastically sonically different from that song, “Steal You Away” nonetheless finds Randy Rogers playing the part of a man who would like nothing better than to show his ‘object of affection’ “how a man is supposed to be [and] take you anywhere you want to go.” Vocally laid back, the melody is fantastically soaring with Geoffrey Hill showcasing that he’s not just some ‘hired’ gun in the band as he shows off his guitar skills. “Starting Over For The Last Time” is more like the classic tunes the group got well-known for in that the melody is driving, remotely country and rock all mixed into a cosmic setting that somehow works. “I Met Lonely Tonight” is a tempo-filled song about how perceived ‘lonely’ people make a newly single guy feel about his relationship and how he wants to make up with after ‘meeting lonely’ (even if it’s only in his imagination). It’s an interesting song which, like “Starting Over,” could very well be a hit for the band on the Texas Music chart. While this is true, I can also see this tune find some sort of mainstream country music audience, something that could also be said about the album closing Waylon-like “Last Last Chance.”
Burning The Day is a song that is focused on life and love and everything that works around that construct. It’s not a record about partying. It’s not a record about the beaches. It’s neither about sippy cups nor is Burning The Day about how ‘country’ Randy Rogers Band is. It’s simply a well-played, well-written and well-produced record by a band which clearly knows who they are and who they aren’t. The Randy Rogers Band may never score that super successful radio hit but they will continue to deliver fantastic records like Burning The Day.