Randy Montana, ‘Randy Montana’ – Album Review
Randy Montana's self-titled debut album quietly slipped out to digital retailers this week. The collection of 11 songs features his two radio singles -- 'Ain't Much Left of Lovin' You' and '1,000 Faces' -- and eight others that the country/folk-rocker co-wrote. His father, Billy Montana, is a successful songwriter, and it seems the 25-year-old either has been going to school on his old man or has that gift in his genes.
The artsy '1,000 Faces' opens the album and sets the tone for a project that is at times difficult to wrap your arms around, but comforting to be close to. Like Eric Church and Lee Brice, Montana's career will be a slow builder. It just takes a little while to figure him out, as the project isn't saddled with syrupy hooks or gimmicky jokes.
'It's Gone' picks up the pace and along with 'It Ain't Hit Me Yet' shows off his musicianship. Both songs feature extended soloing, with the latter feeling like one Montana could close out a set with. Lyrically, 'It's Gone' is a little vague, but at least he doesn't try to compete with his band for attention.
'Ain't Much Left of Lovin' You' is a better song than you may remember and 'Last Horse' sounds and feels like a Gary Allan song. It's a good comparison, as Allan's career was also a slow-starter and even today not every song the California singer puts out is a hit.
'Burn These Matches' is the standout track on the album, and one Montana tells Taste of Country is amongst his picks for the next song to release to radio. "What was I hinking even talking to her / Like a hole in the head that's the last thing that I need / I better burn these matches in my pocket / Before they burn the hell out of me," he sings before going on to tell a story of regret and infidelity. Somehow the newcomer feels most confident with this lyric, packing passion and remorse into a story that may be a little too old for him.
'Assembly Line' is another of Montana and his fans' favorites, as it takes on the routine of a blue collar lifestyle without being obtuse. Montana samples from a pallet of different styles and sounds, making each song unique to the one previous. He never really finds a groove to build a career in, however, but that's difficult to do with a debut album. As long as his pen doesn't run out of ink he's liable to get there, even if it takes another album or two.
Watch Randy Montana's '1000 Faces' Video