Randy Forte is the type of songwriter who many in and out of Nashville say they miss but never try to be. That is to say, the Americana that the artist embodies is reminiscent of a strong cross-section of warm-bodied 60s and 70s country, blues, soul, and rock that is more than capable of inviting listeners in with nothing more than their earthen charms. His voice does not resonate with the raw power of some of his contemporaries, but he more than makes up for it with a songwriting ability that shines off of the likes of Don Henley and Jackson Browne. His rootsy tone is quite fit to be the frontman of a folk-rock outlet, as he showcases in Chas Randall.
There aren’t many frills when it comes to Chas Randal. Forte isn’t the type of songwriter to linger on crafting the poppiest hook more than he is about sharing his heart amidst a consummate blend of varied musical influences. He’s a bard so much as he is a talented lover and purveyor of music, and he tells his stories in an unvarnished light. There’s room for them to be left open to interpretation, but they aren’t inherently interpretive either. Rather, they’re stories as they’ve ever been, told with the straightforward purity of love, yearning, or fiery confidence depending on which rung under the roots umbrella Forte is reaching towards.
The musical variances on Chas Randall would make it the perfect soundtrack to any honky-tonk. Whether he’s offering his inherent knack for breezy musicality to the straight-shooting swagger of ‘Rollin” or making a link between he and his audience’s hearts with the haunting likes of ‘Best Friends’, his music is unmistakably Americana. He roams into the territory of blues, soul, folk, country, and rock alike, and the dial can turn at any moment from one primary blend of influences to the next. But, it never feels cheap or incoherent. Wonderfully produced, written, and performed, Forte is the type of songwriter we truly would benefit from having more of in today’s era. Chas Randall exhibits this fact as well as it ever could.