We’ve been looking forward to Randall King‘s major label debut album Shot Glass for quite awhile now. Randall’s one of a crop of traditional country artists who seem to be ushering in a new era in country music, with his country-to-the-bone sound that easily flows between steel-soaked heartbreakers and boot stompin’ honky tonkers.
After making quite a name for himself in Texas and in honky tonks around the country with his self-titled debut album, Randall signed with Warner Music Nashville in 2019. But staying true to his sound was important, and Randall says it was that commitment from Warner that led him to finally sign with a major label:
“[W]hat sealed the deal was Warner lets us be ourselves. They’ve seen what we built and that it’s working.”
Randall released his first project with Warner, an EP named after his late sister Leanna, in late 2020.
But now the full album is finally here. And hot DAMN is it everything we were expecting – and then some.
Shot Glass features 11 songs (eight of which are co-written by Randall), all centered around a night out at the honky tonk and a different point of view from someone in the room – including from the band’s perspective on “Hard Way To Make It Rain.”
There’s the previously-released “Record High,” a boot stomper about a guy heading out to the honky tonk to try to bounce back after a breakup, and the sultry “You In a Honky Tonk” which finds Randall admiring his woman underneath the neon lights of the dance floor.
The album also includes two songs from the Leanna EP, “Around Forever” and his cover of the classic hymn “I’ll Fly Away,” which holds a special place in Randall’s heart:
“My sister was absolutely my biggest supporter, my biggest fan. She had tattoos of my logos and my music lyrics. My sister was everything, and I sang her home to Jesus with ‘I’ll Fly Away.’”
Then there are the songs we hadn’t heard yet, which run the table from the beer-soaked, honky-tonkin’ breakup song “Roger, Miller Lite and Me” (which also serves as a tribute to the great Roger Miller) to the sentimental title track, “Shot Glass,” a song about memories that start flooding back after a drink or two.
But the standout track for me on this album has to be “Middle of Nowhere Church,” a ballad written by Randall and Jeffrey Steele about the power of love and redemption.
“Like a middle of nowhere church On a middle of nowhere road I found what I lost In the middle of lettin’ her go That life that I was searchin’ for Ain’t a life without her Yeah you might as well just put me in the dirt In a middle of nowhere church”
I can honestly say that there’s not a bad song on the album, and it’s one that you can listen to and picture the scenes from a smoky, neon-lit honky tonk as the stories from the songs play out around you.
Speaking on the concept for the album, Randall said:
“I’m the bartender on this album, and each song is an individual taking a shot at the bar — and then you’re watching it all play out.”
It’s only March and it’s already been a monster year for Randall, between being out on the road with Clay Walker and Tracy Lawrence right now and also making his Grand Ole Opry debut earlier this week.