CD Review: Randy Steele “Moccasin Bender”

Posted: April 30, 2018 in Music
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Moccasin BenderRandy Steele has spent time as part of the band Slim Pickens Bluegrass. But after a few years in that musical ensemble, he went out on his own while taking the style of music that the group had been known for with him. Now as a solo artist, Steele has begun making a name for himself taking that style of music and making it fit his own personality. That resulted in the 2017 album entitled Songs from the Suck, a title that had to do with the location where Steele was from, Suck Creek, Tennessee.

Having released one solo album and finding a fanbase that was positively receptive to his music, Randy Steele returns with a new EP of music. This release is entitled Moccasin Bender.  And just like his previous album, the title of this new collection of music comes with a reference to the area where Steele comes from. Moccasin Bend is both an archaeological site and national park located in Tennessee.

With a lot of Bluegrass/Country music being influenced by real life, it comes as no surprise that Randy Steele would create a song that came straight out of his life. The EP lead-off song “Mabbitt Springs” deals with Steele being thankful that his son beat cancer. For this track and its upbeat message, Steele creates a musical background that contains a completely full sound consisting of banjo, slide guitar, fiddle and drums. That full sound leads off the EP which switches to a much simpler feel on the very next track.

Moccasin Bender continues with the track “Adam and Rose”. The simple musical accompaniment of just the banjo creates a relatively simple Bluegrass track. Like the previous song, “Adam and Rose“ finds Randy Steele creating a track with a real-life feel to the lyrics of the song. “Adam and Rose” features lyrics about two young adults making their way in the world and coming upon life’s everyday difficulties. The music’s slow pace seems to be a perfect fit as the music acts like the perfect bed for the lyrics that spell out the story.

The new six-song EP from Randy Steele continues with the track “Big Talkin’ Woman”. With this track, Steele creates one of the most commercial moments on his release. The track features a full-bodied feel to the music including a slide-guitar solo in the body of the track. While the song easily has a throwback feel to the music, that retro feel would have fit in well with songs in the seventies/eighties. “Big Talkin’ Woman” from Randy Steele will give fans of Old-fashioned Country music something to truly enjoy.

With the next track, Randy Steele touches on a subject that is rather difficult: Drug Addiction. The track called “Age of Ben” features lyrics that act as a storyline as Steele tells the story of as boy who never really had a real chance at life. The main character in the song is born with a developmental problem that gets worse later in life. And having been given up for adoption, he never got to know his real mother. When all gets too difficult to deal with, “Ben” turns to opium which just makes things worse. Just like with the track “Adam and Rose” earlier in the release, “Age of Ben” comes complete with a rather simplistic feel to the music. But unlike the other track which featured the banjo, this track finds Steel creating the simple music of the track with the guitar. The guitar-only background to the track seems to add to the sadness contained within the lyrics.

While several of the tracks on this release find Randy Steele exploring his storytelling side, the track “Rummies” finds him creating a track that has a rather familiar feel to those who know artists such as Gordon Lightfoot. In fact, if it wasn’t for the fact that this song was written around To Have and Have Not, a novel written by Ernest Hemmingway, it would have been a good guess that Steele had used Lightfoot as an influence for the track; which he may have as far as the music of the song is concerned. “Rummies” shows off Steele’s ability to take a storyline and set it to music.

Randy Steele’s new six-song EP comes to a close with the track “Pretty Little Girl with a Blue Dress On”. The track closes the EP out with one of the simplest musical approaches. The lone banjo and Randy Steele’s vocals on the short track bring to mind something that could have come from someone like The Stanley Brothers or someone else that are easily just as well-known from the Bluegrass genre.

Randy Steele stepped out on his own with his first release entitled Songs from the Suck. Taking the next step with his second release, Steele proves that his songwriting skills are still just as sharp. With the track “Adam and Rose” which features a rather simple musical back ground, or “Rummies” that shows off his ability to take an idea and make it his own, the Moccasin Bender release proves to be a well-made second release from the Tennessee-based Randy Steele.

For more information, check out his PR firm, Whiplash PR

Moccasin Bender from Randy Steele is due to be released in the near future. Until then, check out Randy Steele’s live version of “Adam and Rose,” a track that will be on the Moccasin Bender release. 

 

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