If you haven’t been listening to Randall King‘s new album Shot Glass on repeat since it was released, what have you even been doing?
From top to bottom, the album is full of just good, solid honky tonk country. From the boot-scooters like “Record High” to the heartbreakers like the title track and even the quirky “Roger, Miller Lite and Me,” Randall knocked it out of the park with his major-label debut album.
But from the first time I heard the album, one song instantly hit me as the standout of the entire thing: “Middle of Nowhere Church.”
It’s a steel-soaked heartbreak song about finally realizing what you’ve lost and chasing after the love of your life to try to get her back:
“Like a middle of nowhere church
On a middle of nowhere road
I found what I lost and I ain’t lettin’ go
That life that I was searching for
Ain’t a life without her
Oh if I can’t have my heaven on this earth
Then you might as well just put me in the dirt
In a middle of nowhere church”
Randall talked about the inspiration for the song, written with hitmaker Jeffrey Steele, on Spotify:
“When you’re driving through west Texas, west Texas is flat. There’s nothing out there. It’s literally just flat. There’s some canyons and things like that, but when they say you can watch your dog run off for two days, they mean that. There’s nothing out there.
Except when you’re driving down these highways, every once in awhile, random church out of nowhere. Just a random old worn out church that’s still standing, may even still be working. There may still be even services going on on Sunday. But there’s almost always a church in the middle of nowhere.
My idea was, it’s like clarity, when you’re driving through and your wheels are turning and you feel lost, the clarity of it is, you find the answer and you see it right there like a middle of nowhere church. It hits you out of nowhere.”
After writing the song with Steele, Randall decided to have Steele go ahead and produce it for him too, alongside legendary steel guitar player Paul Franklin, who’s played with everybody from Alan Jackson and George Strait to Shania Twain and one of Randall’s personal heroes, Keith Whitley.
And when they finished with the song in the studio, Randall knew he had something special. So special, in fact, he called it “by far” his favorite song that he’s ever recorded:
“It’s hard to find the words to even describe what I think about this song…
Sonically and melodically and musically it’s by far my favorite song that I’ve cut.”
That’s saying a lot for somebody who hasn’t put out a bad song yet.
But of all the great songs in Randall’s catalog, I’ve gotta say this one may be my favorite – and it sounds like it’s Randall’s favorite too.