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Randy Archer - Shots In The Dark
By: George Peden, CSO Staff Journalist

You shouldn’t wish the years away. You shouldn’t. But if this were December, I’d have my Album of the Year list up and posted. And if it were December, without a touch of hesitancy, Randy Archer would be there. Even though the needed date is a while off, this latest release, Shots In The Dark, his first in 12 years, will go close to being on my hit pick list.

The last I remember of Randy Archer was his paring with Johnny Park, forming the mildly successful Archer Park. They kicked around in the mid ‘90s. The duo, before becoming casualties to musical obscurity, charted with a couple of singles and had an album which included the interesting track “I Still Want To Jump Your Bones”. Now, Archer, after proving himself as a noted songwriter – he’s penned for, among others, Tim McGraw and Hank Williams Jnr. – is back in a big way with one hot album. 

With his signature inked to ten of the 14 tracks, he’s nailed the lid shut on an album that fires with radio hits, barroom weepers, personal reflections, and straight as a die country. Pumped with A class session heavyweights on the music front, the album has all the hallmarks for chart success. Produced by Archer, he’s captured what he was after in no short measure. Formulated three chord country this ain’t. Archer works and breathes life, emotion, passion and voice into every song, making his return to recording almost a greatest hits package, as the tunes are all good. 

The radio single currently gaining interest on the national and international markets is “Just As Crazy”. Charged with twang and led with solid drumming and hooky guitars, the song, written by Glen Ashworth and Dana Sigmon, is a hit looking for a place to land. It rocks, and with its story-line of replacing temper with another form of craziness (love), the song packs some wallop. On an album of choice cuts, Archer and his song choosers picked the best for the entrée.

Move beyond the opening track, and you’re into a song set that shines in the darkest moments. Archer doesn’t come to the album with the vocal timbre of, say, an Alan Jackson. He doesn’t need to. However, his vocal range is on the money, bringing a style and flair that’s relaxed and melodic without production push or strain. And this works just so, so, well on the love and losing ballads that pepper the CD.

Archer, who balances his writing inspiration from a tractor seat while running his farm in Wilson Country, Tennessee, cuts deep with introspection on “That’s Not Gonna Bring Her Back” and “I Own This Barstool”; however, don’t put away your Kleenex just yet. The heartaches are plentiful; listen for the title cut. The Archer-penned tune mulls on the misery of losin' and leavin', only to find cold comfort in a shot glass.

But for me, on what is a standout album, you can’t move quickly past “A Different Piece Of Cloth”. The track haunts with its moody piano opening, moving to Archer’s thoughtful handling of a provoking tune. Honing in on our individual differences, highlighted in the imagery of a guy with earrings and a braided beard, and a woman, colorful, in torn jeans and purple tennis shoes, Archer asks us to let the guy wear his ponytail and let her rock to rap. As we learn: the sum total’s found in knowing that God made the quilt, and we’re all cut from different pieces. It’s a touching and sensitive exposition of the human condition, all done with a tune that answers the social questions pondered. 

Randy Archer is back. He’s back, in a big way with a big album. Roll on December.

Shots In The Dark song list:

1: Just As Crazy 
2: That’s Not Gonna Bring Her Home 
3: I Own This Barstool 
4: She Don’t Need A Band To Dance 
5: Look What Your Leavin’ Left Behind 
6: Friends Don’t Let Friends Drive 
7: Shots In The Dark 
8: This Bus 
9: Three Sheets In The Wind 
10: What’s Not There 
11: I’m Just A Place To Fall 
12: A Different Piece Of Cloth 
13: Let Me Drink About It 
14: There’s No “S” On My Chest 

Related Links:
www.RandyArcher.com - Official Site

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Real People Reviews

I have known Randy Archer since he lived in Swainsboro, Ga. about 1976. I remember all the little Honky Tonks with NO pay, being back stage at the Grand Old Opry with him, I remember seeing Randy in Longview, TX while he was with Archer/Park and I was driving a truck coast to coast. I still have the Archer/Park CD and listen to it every so often. I have cassette tapes we made in his home. Now he gets to be on his own finally. Randy has such a smooth voice that makes your heart & body tremble at times. I love the songs on the new album, because it is the same Randy I have known all these years. Wonderful Songs with Great messages.
~ Tennessee Drifter

 

I Love Randy Archer. This will be a great album. His shots in the dark video is AWESOME!!!!!  
~ Connie

 

I love the cd. His sound is so different from everyone else. It is about time someone came out that is not just the same thing you hear over and over again. Okay Tim McGraw is great but he has the same sound as all of these new people that are coming out, but not Randy Archer. His sound really stands out. If you have not heard it, listen to it and be prepared to love it. 
~ Suzanne from Atlanta


 

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