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Music Review: Randy Thompson – Collected

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The sprawling Piedmont region of Virginia has been the home of a lot of music down through the decades. Country, bluegrass, and American roots, in particular, have all been a part of the people and the land for the last century. Randy Thompson’s ancestors settled in the area in the early 1700s, and their immersion within the region’s culture and music has inevitably shaped his development into a musician of note.

Thompson is now about 25 years into his career and while his studio recordings have been sparse, albums such as Wearin’ Blue (1998), That’s Not Me (2004), and Further On (2008) contain sophisticated and very listenable country and roots music.

He has always been more popular in Europe than the United States, where he is more of a well-kept secret despite years of constant touring and producing excellent music.

Thompson has now returned with his latest, Collected, a compilation of 15 tracks recorded over the last 13 years including three new songs and a single from last year. The album gathers together eight European Hotdisc singles and a Top 40 American country single, “Sound Of The Rain.” All together, this is a wise release on for Thompson as it presents the best of his musical output.

The music finds him exploring his heritage as rock and country fuse together into a unique American sound. His incisive lyrics tell stories of the land and of his experience as he sings of war, peace, love, and fears of life. Above all, the music is simple, beautiful, and always truthful. Songs such as “Goin’ Down To Lynchburg Town,” “Ol’ 97,” “Rocksalt & Nails,” “Molly & Tenbrooks,” and “Sound Of The Rain” are all fine examples of his picturesque, cinematic style and storytelling ability.

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