Randy Waller & The Country Gentlemen – One Mile East Of Hazel Green
Since taking over his father Charlie’s illustrious band seven or eight years ago, Randy Waller has faithfully carried on the adventurous and, at times, even urbane eclecticism that has informed the Country Gentlemen since the elder Waller co-founded the band in the late 1950s. Like his daddy, Randy has a robust, stately baritone that lends itself ably to mainstream country and folk-tinged styles, as well as bluegrass.
Not surprisingly, the group touches on quite a variety of styles here. The title tune, for instance, is a deliciously dark, evocative, southern gothic ghost ballad, complete with eerie sound effects. “Cherokee Rose” is an historical story-song that graphically revisits the dark, shameful epoch, the “Trail Of Tears.” And, there are musical shades of Sergio Leone’s spaghetti Westerns in Waller’s colorful rendition of Charlie Daniels’ “Caballo Diablo.” “Jack See Nock,” one of several stand-out Waller originals, is a full-blown gypsy jazz romp, featuring hot gypsy guitar and fiddle licks from DeWayne Brooks and Dave VanDeventer. Waller also shines on a pair of heartfelt gospel originals, “Ferry My Soul” and “Oh Angel.” (Lendel Records, 9188 James Madison Hwy., Warrenton, VA 20186, www.lendelrecords.com.) BA