Elliot Randall & the Deadmen….Come Alive
With the release of his second independent album, Caffeine & Gasoline, Bay Area-based songwriter Elliot Randall has taken a giant leap forward—and the national stage can’t be out of his reach for too much longer. In the midst of their first California tour, Randall and his tastefully talented band, The Deadmen (James Deprato, Kyle Caprista and Danilo Lopez), are riding high off the buzz of having Caffeine & Gasoline debut on the Americana chart while taking their engaging live shows to new fans. The California tour culminates with a hometown gig at San Francisco’s Café Dunord on March 6th, and they will also be making the rounds at South by Southwest in Austin, playing on the Music Fog stage at Threadgill’s on March 20th.
When I first caught wind of Randall on his 2007 release Take The Fall, I was immediately struck by how this good looking kid of twentysomething had such a good grasp on songwriting to go along with his immediately strong and honest vocals. Having spent much of his childhood with family in the Carolinas, Randall’s love of the twang factor and the craft of songwriting is something he stands proudly behind. “My dad was a Country songwriter, so I guess it’s in my blood,” says Randall during a day off on the current tour. “It comes naturally to me to be writing Country music. When I started writing, I didn’t listen to any Country or Americana stuff, I was just another kid listening to Dave Matthews and Ben Harper. Then once I picked up the guitar and learned how to play and began writing my own stuff, regardless of how I wanted it to sound, it kept coming out kinda Country.”
Randall has the twang turned up a notch or two on the new album, which was produced by David Simon-Baker (Mother Hips, Jackie Greene), and its clearly evident from the one-two opening punch of the title track and the hard shuffling “Oh Miranda,” where Deprato’s slide guitar cuts a deep groove over the excellent harmonies provided by the rhythm section of Lopez and Caprista. But it’s really Randall’s introspection on relationships that are the cornerstone of his songwriting, which you’ll find on his favorite track, “Trying Again.” “It’s a slow song played in 6/8 time about trying to re-enter the world, sort of licking your wounds, getting the nerve up to get out there and give it another shot. Come to think of it, it’s kind of the theme of the record as it goes along with the song “Getting My Nerve Up.”
Caffeine & Gasoline are not only essentials for the road, but is now an essential album to add to your collection. Be on the lookout for Elliot Randall & the Dedmen, hopefully in your town soon.