Randy Lee Riviere
Randy Lee Riviere captures the sound of the American mid-west on his latest record Wyoming. Stepping out from behind the stage name Mad Buffalo for the first time, Riviere delivers a record packed with lyrics that paint a vast landscape within the listeners mind. On the song My Town Riviere’s voice wavers slightly as he passionately defends the things that are important to him, protecting his town from encroaching development ‘Why tear it down? This old town just got run down’ he belts. Meanwhile, on Fences, his raw, earthy vocals speak of family traditions and working hard for the land while the soft percussion arrangement keeps the ballad moving along. There is a good balance of up-tempo, foot-tappingly good songs and nonchalant ballads all performed by an exceptional band comprised of Kenneth Blevins, James Pennebaker and David Santos. A stand out track for me is Eighth Wonder which hones in on a beautiful fiddle counter-melody whilst the lyrics have a delicate beauty to their subject matter. Though producer Kevin McKendree, allows the instrumentalists to shine, the backing doesn’t over power Randy’s tentative vocals which are often packed with emotion. The album concludes with the title track which is an instrumental, this really allows the musicians to showcase their calibre. Overall this 13-track collection has allowed Randy to dig deep into his consciousness and hone in on topics that are close to his heart. He has shied away from the stereotypical themes and delivered an authentic and unique work of art that not only speaks his truth but delivers a thought-provoking message to the world about preservation and conservation. Randy Lee Riviere is at his very best on ‘Wyoming’ as an artist, songwriter and activist.