When you think of the West Texas music scene, there's a certain sound that comes to mind. The area practically breathes that guitar heavy, Tom Petty-tinged Texas country. Lubbock in particular lays claim to some of the most promising Texas country, from Pat Green and Wade Bowen to William Clark Green and Josh Abbott Band.
Randall King definitely ain't that. But in a really refreshing way.
In his new video for "Another Bullet," King pays tribute to cowboys, farmers and ranchers. As an ode to their hard work, the tune acknowledges the difficulties facing blue collar workers. It's a side of small town life that resonates much more with people than typical "small town throwdown" party songs.
"Break all the horses," King sings in the gorgeous tune. "You can't have no spirit here. They're shutting down a way of life that's stood a lot of years." Fiddle, piano and pedal steel swell in and out around his voice. Scenes of the sweeping West Texas plains and cattle ranchers going to work intersperse with King singing the tune.
Though the tune paints a dire picture of the cowboy life, Randall King says they're the most resilient folks out there. "As long as there's true blue collar men and women, that stick to their roots, and never back down, the cowboy will never die," King tells Wide Open Country. "The lifestyle is always changing. But the beating heart of the Tom Blasingame's out there will adapt and keep the traditions alive. Here's to the cowboys and cowgirls that keep country alive."
The clean-cut cowboy from Hereford, Texas made the one hour and fourty-five minute drive to Lubbock to pursue a sound more Keith Whitley and Alan Jackson than Tom Petty and Waylon Jennings. As a fourth generation hay hauler, King saw an opportunity to chase his musical muse and took it.
With a smooth-as-butter voice, King captures a neo-traditional sound that could just as easily be the second coming of George Strait.
In 2016, King released his self-produced debut EP Another Bullet. The five-song collection packs plenty of fiddle, pedal steel and train beats. But the most "country" thing about the body of works comes from King's pen. His writing feels like a relic of a bygone era, with phrasing and colloquialisms ripped straight out of the 1980s.
King is already making his way across the state and beyond, playing several shows with Cody Johnson. It's a great fit, given Johnson's fans are already inclined to love the hat and buckle-wearing troubadours known to come out of Texas. It seems King is well on his way to the top.