ArtistRack Reviews ‘Songs from The Suck’ by Randy Steele

ArtistRack Reviews 'Songs from The Suck' by Randy Steele

The composite recordings on Randy Steele’s ‘Songs From The Suck’ were arranged in a syncopated, off beat fashion that added to the distinguished characteristics of the music with poignant pauses at unexpected time signatures.

This is an outstanding album that the listener must experience for themselves all the way through as the literary elements are subtle but breath-taking. The strident and precise guitar picking configurations contained impressive musicianship embedded with distinct pull offs and complicated guitars riffs that were congruent to one another. The orchestral supportive instrumentation holds the music intact with opulent string sections that echo the ‘feel-good’ country essence of the ballads in a mantra formation of dithering rhythm structures.

The seamless nature of the music flows within the confines of the core tuneage with a sense brilliancy that is authentic to the band itself. The vibrancy of the music gives respect to a Muscle Shoals-esque deliberate soundscape dispersed with their own signature stamp of correlated capacity. Furthermore, this embellishes the all-encompassing ruralness of the frequencies in a contemporary context of masterful creative ability while simultaneously tipping its hat to innovative production and twangy guitar play. Each song unspools lusciously and effortlessly as the songwriting faculties nourish the inherent musical need of enthusiasts alike.

In summation, ‘Songs From The Suck’ is the post-modernist pinnacle of music that one would find in the rigid wilderness to omit the rest of the world and simply enjoy the musical ingenuity with no interruptions.


You can listen to ‘Songs From The Suck’ by Randy Steele here:



As the charismatic frontman and banjo maestro for the award winning band Slim Pickins Bluegrass since 2008, Chattanooga, TN based singer-songwriter Randy Steele has held court with legendary live performances on some of the Southeast’s most prominent stages and performed everywhere from California to Belgium and Holland.

While the traditional bluegrass songs he wrote for the group received strong airplay on the internet and on radio shows across the country, Steele also began writing material he wanted to record with drums and slide guitar – what he calls “kind of a no no” with traditional bluegrass fans. So Steele, joined by his band and other musician friends, hightailed it down to the legendary FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama to record a solo album, Songs from the Suck, that showcases a deeper, more eclectic artistry and showcases his dynamic growth as a songwriter.

The album combines the bluegrass and blues roots he planted decades before with his ever deepening skills as a poignant storyteller. Adam Beckett of The Pulse, “Chattanooga’s Weekly Alternative,” captures the spirit of the recording when he writes, “The blend of powerful instruments, vocals, and lyrics combine to produce a crisp musical masterpiece that will rock any hootenanny or hoedown.” Steele is aware that the album title can throw people, so he explains the geography behind it: “The Suck is a reference to Suck Creek that comes into the Tennessee River close to my house. In the early days before TVA dammed the rivers, it was a notorious section of rapids that would break boats and such. Just below was Moccasin Bend, where Cherokee raids were often waiting, and the Muscle Shoals in Alabama was another dangerous section of the river. I liked it phonetically and I thought it would be an easy title to remember.”

Several songs from the 11-track collection have already received impressive accolades. “Mobile Soon,” a reflective acoustic gem about returning home after challenging time in a major city, placed third in the Circa Blue Bluegrass Songwriting competition. The passionate ballad “Hideaway,” written from the perspective of a personified mountain and spring, will be appearing on the Relix Magazine sampler for December. Other key tracks include “Hard Givin’,” which cleverly uses the imagery of rebuilding a wheel well on a dusty old train to illustrate a deeper meditation on a person trying to find direction in life. The opening track “Northbound 29” is a playful bluegrass travel tune inspired by the experiences of truckers Steele has met. He performs it as a spirited, harmony-rich duet with Rachel Moses.  

Steele, a lifelong electric guitarist who fell in love with the banjo and bluegrass music in his early 20’s, continues to perform with Slim Pickins Bluegrass even as his slate of solo shows playing his solo material continues to expand. He performs many of these acoustically, bringing the warmth, intimacy and wit to audiences that are completely different from his bluegrass base. “I enjoy writing stories, and the pieces on Songs from the Suck are mostly fictional,” he says. “Seems like the newer fans are there not just to enjoy the musical atmosphere, but to really experience the songwriting. I grew up loving that storytelling style of songwriting, and it’s exciting to have the opportunity to share it. Whether I’m playing solo or with the band, I’m having fun making music with my friends.”