Randy Massey – Highway to My Soul (2012)

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Had Bruce Springsteen been born a decade later and listed his influences as REO Speedwagon, U2 and Bryan Adams rather than Bob Dylan, Creedence Clearwater Revival and Mitch Ryder and the Detroit Wheels, he would probably sound something like Randy Massey.

Possessing a rich baritone that instantly collects comparisons to the Boss, the Florida-based vocalist, songwriter and guitarist performs each and every one of his tunes as if it was an anthem. It’s easy to envision Randy on stage in front of a rapt audience, flicking lighters and pumping their fists as they sing along with his infectious concoctions.

Randy Massey actually has spent a good number of years playing live gigs, which accounts for the commanding presence he strikes. On his new effort Highway to My Soul, Massey successfully duplicates the passion and energy executed from in-person appearances to record.

Bold and brassy, the album is a straight-forward rock affair. Aside from sporting a husky set of lungs that seizes the listener’s undivided attention, Randy is also an incredible axeman. His rhythm is right on, and his solos twirl and soar with color and feeling. But Randy never goes overboard on the jamming. He keeps the tunes tight and streamlined. A melodic confidence anchors the material, occasionally sailing into power pop waters.

Rocking hard and steady, songs such as “Angels Came To Me,” “Where Do We Go From Here,” “Stay With Me,” “Forever More” and “Yesterday” (not the Beatles tune of the same name) are replete with excitement and stamina. Arrangements sparkling with crispness, integrated with dense textures and clean and polished guitar tones are the mechanics steering the vehicle.

Even though Highway to My Soul is ruled by an 1980s-guitar rock edge, the songs are so strong that they avoid the retro tag. The emotions are vital, and what a breath of fresh air that is in this day and age of cut-and-paste music created by machines. (A big shout out further goes to Chip Muellemann for lending his bass and percussion talents to the disc.)

Those with a taste for meat-and-potatoes rock and roll, served with a generous helping of slick licks, will find much to appreciate on Randy Massey’s new album. I know Highway to My Soul has certainly stirred my soul!

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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