"All of our hearts have been worn by someone else. Strapped to their sleeves, they're just tempting the thieves, Till the right heartbreaker makes you believe."-Elliot Randall, "Take The Fall"
Twenty six year old country-rock troubadour Elliot Randall is an emerging musical stylist who writes songs that "defy his tender years. He seems to have done it all and has the required levels of hurt and angst that far older songwriters take years to experience." (Americana UK) Randall's discerning style has garnered him comparisons to the likes of Ryan Adams and, some of his great musical predecessors like Guy Clark and Gram Parsons.
The young Randall spent much of his childhood exploring the marshes of the Ashley river near his grandparents' home in Charleston, South Carolina. This lush, southern environment, coupled with his musical father's love of the piano had a great influence on his future. "I pretty much only remember hearing Willie Nelson and the Eagles played", he says. Pair that with an intellectual mother (a published writer and former Assistant Dean of English and Literature at Northwestern University) and an obvious young songwriter is incarnated. Elliot taught himself to play the piano and guitar and the writing came naturally. His mother always kept him reading, "whether I wanted to or not" he jokes, and stressed the importance of poetry for the soul.
Randall moved on to college life spending his first year on a golf scholarship at Arizona State. Out of pure wanderlust, he returned to California one year later, where his family had relocated in his high school years. He attended Santa Barbara Community College, where his song writing began to be noticed by the school's music department. "In my second year at SBCC, a song writing class and my first heartbreak converged to turn me into a songwriter."
Indicative of his southern upbringing, his dynamic song work traverses the Americana landscape; from greased up two-steps to outlaw country to hearty ballads. His debut album, released in May of 2007 has created a buzz and elicited significant praise: "Take The Fall" is, easily, one of the best releases of 2007...Every one of the ten tracks on this album is a winner," concludes Jeff Weiss of Miles Of Music. "This young man from San Francisco is one to watch."
Shortly before the release of "Take The Fall", Randall's powerful voice and sublime lyrics caught the ear of San Francisco classic rock station KFOG's Renee Richardson. "When I first heard Elliot's beautiful, almost haunting songs, I was immediately drawn in. I was surprised to learn that he was only in his twenties. But that's good for us, we have so much more of [him] to look forward to". The station, a champion for the best in burgeoning Bay Area talent added Randall's original track, "How To Get Old" to their annual "Local Scene" compilation cd, added it to their summer rotation and he was chosen to kick off the corresponding summer concert series in a live, on-air performance.
The kind of serendipity that connected Randall to Richardson was with him even earlier in his career when producer Joey Muller introduced him to his future com padre and first bandmate, guitarist James DePrato. DePrato, known in the Bay Area and beyond for his stellar guitar work and dubbed "brilliant" by Bay Area legend Chuck Prophet, put his musical insight to work for Randall and brought in local session drummer and skilled harmonizer Kyle Caprista. Caprista followed suit and brought in keyboardist/pianist Danny Blau, another bay area musician in great demand. Still searching for the final piece of the musical puzzle, the foursome set to work in the studio to record "Take The Fall". What resulted was a debut album called "superb" in more than one review. "On first listen it's easy to be lazy and compare Elliot Randall's superb release to some of Ryan Adam's best work...[Take The Fall] straddles the country and rock worlds proficiently and his work sounds both timeless and fresh." (Twangnation.com) Shortly after the release, bassist and former DePrato bandmate Danilo Lopez became the final component of the dynamic equation. Italian-born and raised in Southern California, Lopez was prone to rock, heading up two other successful musical projects, but he soon became enamored with the outlaw country and mutual love of song writing offered by Randall.
The quintet's diverse musical backgrounds and collective depth of experience soon garnered them coveted opening slots for the likes of Creedence Clearwater Revisited, Lyle Lovett, Cross Canadian Ragweed and Hayes Carll. Their following began to grow and soon they had played to packed rooms at nearly every premier venue in the greater Bay Area. The fans took notice. "When we walked in, local musician Elliot Randall and his band were bringing down the house", notes a self-proclaimed new fan/blogger. "This country girl was in love....the whole building was vibrating with energy....Wow. Just wow." (snappedinsin.com)
Many of the characteristics of the musical stylists that precede him are evident in Randall's songs and the comparisons they evoke. '"How To Get Old" is a damn fine song that could have come from Uncle Tupelo" says one reviewer. "Hints of Ryan Adams" noted Americana Roots Radio. "Kansas City Breakdown" also received special recognition as a standout song when Hickorywind.org's James Goodfellow named "Take The Fall" as one of the top 9 albums of 2007.
ASCAP also took notice early-on and chose "Hold The Candle" as one of eight songs to be showcased live at their "I Create Music" Expo in 2007. "We Don't Talk Like We Used To" was also selected for a review panel at the same event to illustrate what music supervisors look for in a song. Later that year, NARAS followed suit and chose Randall as the top regional Americana artist. Rounding out an impressive year for an independently released debut, "Take The Fall" was added in its entirety in November to XM Radio's "X Country" station where it remained in full rotation for sixteen weeks. The record reached number sixteen on the charts; quite an accomplishment considering the company of far more established acts like Lucinda Williams, Hayes Carll and Steve Earle.
The fact that Randall continually finds himself in this kind of company belies another: that it's only a matter of time for him to break onto the national scene. "Take The Fall", with it's modest critical success is an indicator of bigger things to come. It has all of the elements that indicate a bright future and lasting career.
Ingrooves is set to digitally re-release "Take The Fall" in January of 2009 with two bonus tracks.
"From the off, this album grabs you and doesn't let go. It's powerful, melodic, sublime and utterly delicious - all at the same time. Randall can make you soar, contemplate and pull at your heartstrings - all at the same time....It's all here. (Americana UK),