The Bottom Line A mix of fun, irreverent tunes that make the medicine go down and others more profound, all done magnificently.
Randall Goodgame - 'War and Peace' - Pros, Cons and Description
- Outstanding musicianship, superb writing, both fun and significant
- Style: Acoustic folk/pop
- 11 original songs
- Released: January 2005
Randall Goodgame - 'War and Peace' - The Review
I had the good fortune to slip my new copy of Randall Goodgame
's War and Peace
into the car's CD player on a perfect spring day as I drove to my daughter's soccer game through woods aflame with the sun's warm rays. The air was sweet with the hope of summer and Goodgame's delicious and delightful songs filled the car and my mind with irrational joy, the best kind.
His fourth solo album, War and Peace, features very solid musicianship, his usual warm vocals, and his signature mix of sly humor and poignancy; and the overall effect is stunning. If he's new to you, think '70s folk scene, a la Don McLean, but you're probably more familiar than you know, for his songwriting skills have much to do with the popularity of Caedmon's Call. His "Share the Well" is included on War and Peace, which any CC fan will quickly recognize. This is one of the more overtly serious tunes you'll love about this CD.
Everyone of a certain age will suspect within a few minutes of the first bars of opener, "Part 1", that Goodgame is referring to Peanuts and the Charlie Brown gang, but you're sure you're mistaken, however, you're not. The first several tracks, in fact, are delightfully tongue-in-cheek and I was immediately enthralled. Ben Shive's lovely, lonely piano sounds all the more beautiful accompanying these sly lyrics. It's the fifth tune, "So Far Away", before Goodgame gets serious with a vengeance, having written the song for a friend who spent a year in Iraq away from his wife and baby girl. Kenny Meeks' electric guitar yanks on your heartstrings with intensity and Goodgame's story-telling chops score once again; he compellingly portrays the agonies of distance. His poignancy continues to tug on your heart and mind with "Dear America".
The whole project is a wonderful mix of the profoundly thoughtful and the delightfully nonsensical, but beware, even the nonsense contains nuggets of truth. The bluesy "The Legend of Pope Joan" tells of the ninth-century Englishman who served two years as Pope before pulling to the side of the road to give birth. My favorite cut has to be the wickedly clever "The Opener", where Goodgame joyously mocks every backstage privilege and in the process, quietly calls us to humility. Score! Believe me, miss your bus if you must, miss your message, miss your train, but do not miss Randall Goodgame's War and Peace. You'd never forgive yourself.