Juke Joint

Randall Bramblett’s latest, Juke Joint At The Edge Of The World, officially dropped on July 7. I managed to get an early copy by ordering directly from his website. Randall explains that the album was inspired by the experience of touring with his band. “Some of the places we play are like the old juke joints where people dance and shout – from these people and places we’ve found the energy we need to be free to shake the music up.” He describes Juke Joint as “less thinking and more playing” and “less analyzing and more fun.” I’ve been listening for the better part of a month now. ‘Fun’ is an accurate description. But ‘Funky’ works too. The album opener and one of my faves, “Plan B,” really showcases Randall’s lyrical skills:

Worn out mini-tire, beat up van
Faded phone number on the back of my hand
Looking for a girl who used to live up here
I can still see her even though she disappeared
Hanging by a string, mumbling a prayer
My mojo busted and I don’t have a spare
Might be a fool but at least I’m free
That’s why they love me
I’ve got no Plan B.

Can you dig it? 🙂 A natural born music man, Randall needs no plan B. Another fave of mine is the first single “I Just Don’t Have the Time.” Allmusic describes it as “a Chicago-styled blues strut with a half-rapped lyric full of wit, irony, and sarcasm worthy of both Mose Allison and Ben Sidran.”

Did I hear about the large hadron collider?
What if all the hadrons go wrong?
Did I read a book called The God Particle?
I wonder if we could ever work that in a song

Apparently he can! 😉

Of course, any good analysis probably takes more listens than can be had in a month. But following Randall’s lead of “less analysis, more fun,” let me just say that I’m liking what I’m hearing, the more so, the longer I listen. Stellar musicianship and clever lyrics as always.

I caught Randall & band again Saturday night at that juke joint known as the Red Clay Music Foundry in Duluth. (Downtown Duluth is becoming a really cool place, I must say.)  Randall was joined by his regular touring band except that Tom “Panda” Ryan stood in for Michael Steele on bass. Fantastic show. The band played two sets, which included 8 of the 10 tunes from Juke Joint as well several other favorites. I had front-row tickets, next to some folks from Jesup, Randall’s hometown. Randall teased guitarist Nick Johnson who was playing his last show before turning 30. I got to talk to Nick ever so briefly after the show, long enough to wish him a happy birthday. He commented on my ‘Chuck’ T-shirt. He hadn’t yet had time to check out Chuck the album, but had plans to do so.

(From the left) Seth Hendershot, Randall Bramblett, Tom “Panda” Ryan, and Nick Johnson

Set 1
Driving to Montgomery
Blue Road
Used To Rule the World
Detox Bracelet
Plan B
Garbage Man
Trippy Little Thing
Pothole On Main Street
Mali Katha
I Just Don’t Have the Time

Set 2
King Grand
Dead In the Water
Devil Music
Bottom Of the Ocean
Angel Child
Reptile Pilot
Devils Haircut (Beck cover)
Everybody’s Got It On the Inside (dedicated to Gregg Allman)
Get In Get Out

Read more:
Bramblett interview (Merlin David, M Music & Musicians)
Album review (Hal Horowitz, American Songwriter)

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