Randy Lewis Brown is prepping for the release of a new album. It’s titled Wind of Change and has a drop date of September 30th, 2022. But first, for those of you not yet familiar with the artist in question, a bit o’ background.
Randy Lewis Brown
Louisiana-born Randy Lewis Brown is an American singer-songwriter and musician based in Texas. According to his official website, Brown may be “well past his prime and” now has “an early bedtime,” but he still works hard to take listeners on an entertaining musical journey. As a boy Brown “was offered a $10 guitar and lessons for $1 a week by an older teen in church.” He was hooked and “was a budding [singer-] songwriter” by the time he was 14.
Since then, he has focused his tuneful talents on writing songs full of “sadness, wonder, joy, humor, [and] philosophy.” He also admits to injecting his work with “a tiny tad of…subtle southern smart-ass.”
His rockin’ resume includes eight previous platters. He has also performed live coast to coast. He has opened for such other artists as Ray Wylie Hubbard, Jim Lauderdale, and David Olney. Brown has also garnered a number of songwriting awards including 2007’s Dream Big and 2013’s But Wait, There’s More. He has won such songwriting awards as the TIME Songwriting Competition (2009), the New Traditions Award (2007), the Poor David’s BW Stevenson Songwriter Contest (2014), and the South Florida Songwriting Contest (2018).
Randy Lewis Brown’s signature sound is a mix of multiple music genres including Americana, country, folk, and folk-rock.
Wind of Change
Wind of Change is a 12-track album of original material written or co-written by Brown. On this release, Brown leads the way on guitar, mandolin, and vocals. He is backed by an assortment of other artists including producer Merel Bregante (drums, percussion, and harmony vocals), Mark Epstein (bass), Michael Dorrien (acoustic and electric guitar), Peter Wasner (piano, Wurlitzer, B3, and synthesizer), Dave Pearlman (“magic microphones”, steel, dobro, and lap steel), Cody Braun (fiddle and mandolin), Maestro Dirje Childs (cello “and inspiration”), and Sarah Pierce (harmony vocals).
In a recent email, Brown briefly discussed the inspiration behind his upcoming album. He said: “If I have learned anything in my short time on earth, it is that change is all there is. Nothing ever remains the same for long. Each song presented here, in its own way, is about change; birth, aging, death, disappointment, beginnings, endings, and every other little thing that reminds us we are not in control.”
Track by Track
The album opens with the award-winning “Desoto Parish Nights.” This song-story clearly identifies Brown and foreshadows what is to come. His seasoned voice adds sincerity to a sad story of bigotry in an unexpected setting on a Sunday decades ago.
The second selection is “My Hat and Your Guitar.” This one was co-written with Charlie Edwards and Rusty Mitchum. While certain elements in this song are almost expected, Brown makes it all work. Additionally, the track serves as a fine introduction to what Brown can do when he works with others.
The next number is “Long Dry Season.” The song is a fine example of how people are tested when times are tough. Its saving grace is the sense of personal perseverance presented herein.
“Highway 84” was co-composed with Randy Palmer. This is a traveling tune perfect for a road trip. It would serve as a great foil for the more musically mindless road trip songs everyone already knows.
“Fly to Your Sun” follows. This one is another traveling tune. It focuses on the times and tribulations of a traveling troubadour and is specifically referenced in a dedication note to Brown’s wife Barbara. We all have a reason to do what we do. Brown makes it clear she is his.
“This Old Car” is the sixth selection. This “old car” takes the listener on a journey from better times to hard times with prideful, questioning detours heading into the unknown. Musical metaphors aside, the song is sadly quite apt for the times.
The seventh songful serving is “Living is Hard.” This one, co-written with singer-songwriter Terry Klein, undoubtedly would work especially well for Fourth of July gigs at the VFW or any other place where one would find wounded warriors. Better yet, it might even work well on a movie soundtrack. (seriously, how many more times do we need to hear “Fortune’s Son” in a military movie, ya know?)
The eighth audio offering is “Falling Man.” It was inspired by 911. Brown discussed the song not too long ago on social media. He said:
“This song has haunted me for 10 years, ever since it was written for a memorial at the 10th anniversary of 09/11, which was canceled at the last minute. I was left with a song which felt important but which [had] no audience to hear it. It is inspired by what I consider the most haunting photo of that terrible day; Richard Drew’s ‘Falling Man’ photo. The photo which captured an unknown victim in an almost nonchalant mid-fall pose plunging to his death from atop the twin towers. For me, more than any other, that photo finally pierced all my interior armor and drove home the horror and inhumanity of that infamous day.”
Also included here is “Still Small Voice.” This one is the result of a collaboration with Jim Bush and the last example of how well Brown works with others. We all (hopefully) have our own version of Jiminy Cricket. We all need a conscience, at any rate. (Indeed, perhaps a few of us need a more active, louder voice these days.)
Not to be confused with the title track from Peter Frampton’s 1972 debut solo outing, this “Wind of Change” is an original Brown composition. Brown and company let loose on this upbeat audio offering. It’s one of the best bits here.
“Why They Call It Fishing” is a fun little song-story. The dramatic presentation of the sport explains a lot about why some of us enjoy fishing. It also touches on the subject of father and son male bonding and old-fashioned country fatherly wisdom.
The album endnote “Warm Wind” is perfectly placed. Here Brown once again cleverly references fishing as the listeners are treated to one more example of what Brown can do as a solo artist who creatively communicates with real folks.
Overall, this disc is yet another example of Brown’s songwriting abilities both as a solo artist and as a collaborator. It is an effective collection of songs that lets listeners know his personal perspective at this point in life. Brown sings songs that are both intimate and universal in theme.
He often admits “Living is Hard” but, as noted in a piece on his previous platter, Red Crow, Brown can take even less than perfect aspects of real-life and create something positively empathic. Sometimes life is fun and sometimes it’s not and we are all joined together by our understanding of that reality. His tuneful take on life is especially welcome in these often-challenging times. So check out Randy Lewis Brown’s new disc and experience the “Wind of Change.”