Randy Steele’s album Songs From The Suck offers audiences the warmth and realness of genuine, heartfelt songwriting and country rock music. From the opener Northbound through the follower Angels With Halos, the sound of the leading artist’s voice, the vibrant energy of the instrumentation, and the honesty of the lyrics provide the essential elements that make this an easy to enjoy, impressive new collection.
Shove the pig’s foot a little closer to the fire comes as an instrumental moment of skillful and mesmerising wonder. The musicianship is incredible, and this is true of the entire project, though here in isolation – without the support of lyrics or a human voice – it really shines with a fresh kind of brightness. The incredibly beautiful Mobile Soon is really well placed as the follow up to this. Randy Steele’s voice is stunning. When you hear it during this raw, acoustic moments you really get to appreciate the intricate qualities and tone of it, and the emotion of the song stands even taller in some ways. Arrangement is important though, this collection in full offers a little of many different moods and moments, and it’s a total pleasure to listen to.
Eliza Mae brings the energy back up, the country or folk rock ambiance has a classic, live feel to it that just screams out for you to be hearing it in a live setting; dancing in a bar full of smiling faces until the sun comes up. The musical performances on this project are truly phenomenal, flawless and yet forever relevant to the mood of the songs connecting them.
Hard Givin’ offers up a slightly melancholy mid-point between the manic and the calm. It feels like a country classic from yesteryear, surrounding you in passionate expression and, as always, musical magic. Drinking To Do presents a sentiment that many can relate to, the music beautifully supports the essence of the song, creating the perfect kind of atmosphere to enjoy or reflect upon the ideas. Then you get the gorgeous acoustic guitar performance of Visitation Day. Randy Steele’s creativity is one thing – his musicianship, his wonderful leading voice – but his story telling brings something else entirely to the stage. You find yourself lost in these songs, hanging on each line and each word in peaceful anticipation of what’s to come. The softness of Drinking To Do magnifies the effect. The truth is powerful, and this songwriter never shies away from it.
The mood rises back up to the bright and joyful for 1983. The subject matter may not be thoroughly blossoming with smiles, as is life, but the music does exactly as we need it to – it removes you from those difficulties and surrounds you in warmth and hope and escapism. One Man Stringer follows on with exciting, infectious rhythm and energy. The pace is intense, brilliant, flawlessly executed – it takes over you as you listen and, once again, the prospect of a live show becomes incredibly attractive.
Hideaway is the penultimate song of the collection, a gem quite relevantly hidden – tucked away towards the end of this musical adventure. There’s an Americana-like smoothness to this one, the music lays out a vibe that prepares you well for the self-reflective story telling soon to unfold. As always, there is honesty, poetry, imagery, and a beautifully developing melody line.
Randy Steele’s performances throughout this album connect on an undeniably real and emotionally powerful way. This is true at every turn, not least of all for the closing moment – …To the New Perspective. The acoustic rawness of this final track offers a lasting reminder of the truth and humanity of this music. To witness the artist’s voice meandering in unison with the finger picking is hypnotic, to then take on the story line, the emotion, the concept, the hook – it’s addictive and beautiful. A stunning way to finish. An engaging and talented artist, well worth discovering.