News & Reviews

Randy Lee Riviere – Blues Sky

Reviewed by: Walter Vanheuckelom, Concert Monkey

American Randy Lee Riviere divides his time between his ranch in Montana and his home just outside Nashville. Between 2004 and 2012 he released four albums with Mad Buffalo. If you listen to the last twenty years of his work with ‘A Good Bad Road’ (2004), ‘Fool Stand’ (2006), ‘Wilderness’ (2008) and ‘Red And Blue’ (2012) and then on his solo album ‘Wyoming’ (2021), you hear different musical twists and this is also the case for his new solo album ‘Blues Sky’, which was released on October 20th. Just like with his first solo album ‘Wyoming’, Kevin McKendree is the producer. Kevin and Randy Lee also co-wrote ten songs for this new album. Only ‘Needles’ was written by Randy Lee Riviere all by himself.

The opener ‘American Redoubt’ has a very tight groove, thanks to drummer Kenneth Blevins and bassist David Santos. Randy Lee Riviere and producer Kevin McKendree provide splitting guitar fills and ditto solos. The stomping ‘You’re So Kind’ is built around a heavy riff. Here too we hear that characteristic piercing guitar. The stomping and pounding rhythm also remains in ‘Do Or Don’t’. Kenneth Blevins’ compelling and tight percussion sets the pace and the heavy pounding bassline provides the pounding groove. Randy Lee Riviere and Kevin McKendree once again color the song with piercing and deep cutting guitar work. We hear a clearly dissatisfied Randy Lee Riviere in ‘Needles’, the only song he wrote alone. He expresses his dissatisfaction not only in his lyrics and voice, but also in his sharply cutting string work on the guitar. The same can be said about ‘Spit Shine’, in which Randy Lee satirizes materialism, pretentiousness and hubris. We are halfway through the album and most of the songs are very similar in tempo and style. That changes in the subdued ballad ‘Just One More Time’, in which we hear a very soulful and sentimental voice from Randy Lee.

In ‘Rocky’s Road’ and ‘Old Country’s Son’, two steamy rockers with nice guitar work and attractive choruses, you can clearly hear Neil Young And The Crazy Horse influences. In the short, less than one hundred and fifty second long, ‘What Do You Know About Pain?’ Randy Lee Riviere asks what others know about pain. With his sharply cutting guitar he intensifies the feeling of pain. ‘Joseline’ is a gritty mid-temp song, about a relationship that ended, but in which Joseline left a big impression on singer Randy Lee Riviere. The album closes with the emotional gospel-tinged ballad ‘Cold Cold River’. With his warm organ sounds, Kevin McKendree carries the melody of ‘Cold Cold River’. Vocally, Ann, Regina & Freda McCrary complete the song. ‘Blues Sky’ by Randy Lee Riviere is a pleasant album to listen to. (7.5/10)

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