Randy Weeks has described his music as “late ’60s AM to early ’70s FM,” but on his new disc Going My Way, I hear a bit of early-mid ’70s AM in there as well. Which may be parsing eras and frequencies just a little too precisely, perhaps…but to me, the hits that dominated the AM airwaves circa 1972-75 marked a nirvana of sorts for songsmiths who excelled with melody and harmony above all other elements. And when it comes down to it, that’s what makes Weeks’ music so appealing.
This was clear on his earlier albums as well from 2002’s Madeline to 2004’s Sold Out At The Cinema to 2006’s Sugarfinger, along with his 1990s efforts as a member of Southern California country-rockers the Lonesome Strangers. (The new album’s “Fine Way To Treat Me”, as a matter of fact, was first recorded in 1997 for that band’s Land Of Opportunity disc.) But while Weeks has long been associated with the roots-music scene previously in Los Angeles, and now in his newly adopted home base of Austin it’s really more of a pure-pop sensibility that sets him apart.
Thus we have the almost Cowsills-ish sing-songy delight “That’s What I’d Do” (which manages to make even a seemingly clumsy couplet like “I’d write a letter to my congressman too/That’s what I’d do to be with you” sound charming), alongside the more urgent but similarly catchy “A Lot To Talk About”, followed by the more sublimely mystic and moody “Summer Of Love”. If it’s not quite “One Toke Over The Line” into “Brandy, You’re A Fine Girl” into “Holdin’ On To Yesterday”, it’s close.
Producer Will Sexton helps bring out the beauty of Weeks’ songs, keeping his voice front-and-center and frequently framed by richly complementary harmonies. While major-key pop confections abound, it’s ultimately the minor-key darker turns that leave a more lasting impact here. In addition to “Summer Of Love”, those include the dreamlike “Black Coffee And Lifesavers” (super title, by the way), spiked midway through with dramatic guitar and organ solos; and the concluding “Get Me To The Shelter”, in which subtly wistful waves of regret (“And I’m listening to your goodbyes”) crash into the catharsis of the chorus: “Wash these tears away.”
Download the album track “I Couldn’t Make It” here