A Review of the Randall Williams CD
"One Night In Louisiana"

"One Night in Louisiana"
Randall Williams

Copyright 2007

This review is written by Kevin McCarthy, 6/07
"Kevin and Maxine’s Celtic & Folk Music CD Reviews"
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The very first thing that becomes apparent while listening to Randall Williams' latest release is what a voice!

But being a graduate of a music conservatory, as Williams is, the owning of a set of 'pipes' isn't unexpected.

The more pertinent questions, as applicable to any singer-songwriter, are does he have something to say of interest, does he present it entertainingly in verse and, finally, does he wrap all in an engaging musical setting?

The answers: yes, yes and yes.

Williams is all over the map literally and figuratively here, offering selections from Estonia, Italy and Japan but primarily presenting his own creations. And it is the latter that the majority, if not all listeners, will appreciate the most.

He opens with an excellent cover of Michelle Shocked's "Memories of East Texas," a cut surely chosen because of its provincialism subject matter. Being a world traveler and having seen and experienced more than most, the Shreveport-born Williams offers this resonating portion of lyrics:
"...What the hell'd you let them break your spirit for?
You know, their lives ran in circles so small
Ah, they thought they'd seen it all
And they could not make a place for a boy
who'd seen the ocean..."

The late Dave Carter's "Ordinary Town" would also have filled the bill for detailing narrowness of mind.

"Spirit of Amelia" vividly captures the joie de vivre of the adventurous traveler, the one who is always wondering just what might be beyond the horizon.

Written for fellow performer Bill Nash who has multiple sclerosis, "Murder of Crows," is quite the fitting tribute.

Williams employs the often strife-torn status of Lebanon and directly applies it to the similar factional struggle within the individual. It's war as both personal and impersonal, up close and far away. He sings:
"...It's easy to ask why
but it's hard to look inside
through the rubble and the dust
cause we all have Lebanon: inside of us..."

His song "I Will Come For You" is yet another solid example of fact topping fiction. Based on a story told to Williams, it's about the World Wat II relationship of a U.S. soldier and a native Belgian women, one that produced a child but never a marriage. Like a great short story, giving away the ending is a no-no so let's just say the conclusion of this song exemplifies the ties of blood.

"Guatemala" is the epitome of the vagaries of the heart. Williams' chorus goes:
"...I've never loved another half as much, or hurt a lover half as bad
We never wnated anything but love
What we got was Guatemala, and the road was all we had..."

"Ghost In The Machine" is a phrase with a varied past but here it's an eloquent ode to the mystery of spirit and one of the most moving songs in a batch of glowing compositions. This amazing verse is most applicable to those creative:
"...It's the faintest whisper in your head in the stillest hour of night
Scratch on virgin paper the things the voices write
Creak of the hinges - the wind lets herself inside>
spills the tune into the strings and sends it down the line..."

The philosophical "This Song Is Not My Own" speaks of human connection and treading lightly with claim and dominon.

Continuing in the vein, "Stronger For Your Flame" affirms the augmenting value, big or small, grand or mundane, of acts of betterment.

Randall Williams' departure from the classical music world is all the gain for fans of the singer-songwriter domain. Here's one person hoping for "Another Night In Louisiana."

Track List:

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