Randy Weeks Follows 2006’s Acclaimed 'Sugarfinger' Album
Randy Weeks will follow his 2006 album Sugarfinger (which included the radio hit "Transistor Radio" and was called "one of the finest albums released [that] year" by the Dallas Observer) with a new album titled Going My Way on Certifiable Records on February 17, 2009. Reflecting his recent move from his long-time roost of Los Angeles to Austin, the new album was produced by Will Sexton and features such players as long-time guitarist Tony Gilkyson plus Austinites Eliza Gilkyson, Cindy Cashdollar, Rick Richards and Mark Hallman.
Living in Austin, Weeks says, has loosened up his musical approach, and that's reflected in Going My Way. Funky soul-infused songs ("Fine Way To Treat Me" and "I Think You Think") mingle with rootsy rockers ("A Lot To Talk About" and the title track, a colorful travelogue of old romances). "The One Who Wore My Ring" offers a slice of timeless honky tonk heartache, while "Little Bit of Sleep" is a big-beat folk-rock rant that Weeks describes as "a non-committal political commentary." He even includes some uplifting love songs here: the Willie Nelson-flavored "That's What I'd Do" and the L.A.-set "I Couldn't Make It." It all makes for his most diverse sounding disc, while still being a cohesive song collection.
In addition to his hit song "Transistor Radio, " which received play on Los Angeles' tastemaking radio stations KCRW-FM and Indie 103.1 FM, Weeks is best known for penning Lucinda Williams' hit "Can't Get Go" from the Grammy Award-winning album Car Wheels on a Gravel Road. Williams performed the song on "Saturday Night Live." Williams, in turn, has proclaimed that Weeks "writes amazingly well-crafted, beautifully melodic songs." He was also a founding member of HighTone Records artists the Lonesome Strangers, helping pioneer the Southern California roots music movement that also spawned Lucinda Williams, Dwight Yoakam and Jim Lauderdale.
As Weeks explains of his move from SoCal to the heart of Texas, "Life in L.A. was comfortable — maybe a little too comfortable. I knew I could count on a packed house at every gig and I lived in a cool little shack three blocks from the beach. But it became time to shake things up. Sometimes that's what needed to shift things into high gear."
One of his first new musical friends on arriving in Austin was Will Sexton, the new album's producer, whom Weeks met while playing a residency at Momo's. The two men fostered a fast and easy-going studio atmosphere. Says Weeks, "I was lucky to have incredibly talented people to work with and every one of them was really enthused about the project. Right away there was an easy rapport, both musically and personally, and things just clicked. I think that's why we didn't have to spend a lot of time agonizing over each track. Two or three takes and we were able to move on. That comes through in the way the songs turned out — to me they sound very alive and real."
Weeks' prior solo records — 2000's Madeline (HighTone) and two self-releases, Sold Out at the Cinema (2003) and Sugarfinger (2006) — all garnered critical accolades. All Music Guide hailed Madeline as "a great album" while Salon.com called it "maybe the best breakup album since Chris Isaak's Forever Blue." Sold Out wound up on the "Best of" lists for No Depression's co-editor Peter Blackstock and Billboard's Chris Morris. The praise grew with Sugarfinger, from the Dallas Observer declaring it "one of the finest albums released this year" to Performing Songwriter marking it as a "stellar album." Sugarfinger also scored Weeks his biggest hit with "Transistor Radio." Described by CMT.com's Craig Shelburne as "easy to sing, impossible to get out of your head, " this indelible tune became popular on L.A. radio stations KCRW and Indie 103.1 before spreading across the nation on terrestrial and satellite radio stations.
Combining the influences of his youth — gleaned while listening to radio stations Chicago's WLS-AM, Little Rock's KAAY-AM and Oklahoma City's KOMA-AM — Weeks blends British Invasion, Stax soul, old-time R&B and classic country, creating something all his own. He describes it as "the sound of the late '60s AM to early '70s FM." Weeks' musical cross-pollination has drawn him such diverse comparisons as being "part J.J. Cale and part Al Green" (Houston Press) and if "Robbie Fulks and Tony Joe White were somehow merged into one person" (Salon.com).
Next stop is the road for Weeks, who enjoys bastions of support in Austin, Houston, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Nashville and even Omaha. "I have really cool bands in many of those cities, so I'm ready to live on the road for the foreseeable future."
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