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Randall Lee Rainwater - Rainwater Rd. (R.L. Rainwater)

Randall Lee Rainwater is an acoustic slide guitarist from Kentucky living in Dublin. Homesickness permeates this debut CD, with pictures of the signpost for Rainwater Rd. in Somerset, Kentucky on the inlay card. Imprinted on the CD itself is an image of a wooden rail track, reminiscent of the one River Phoenix and friends trudged along in Stand By Me.

So Randall Lee, or R.L. to his friends, sings of nickels and dimes, going back to Georgia, and how the Southern women make him feel fine. And this record would make just about anybody feel fine, even people who think a slide guitar is a guitar with an adjustable strap. Rainwater Rd. is about keeping things simple: no overdubs, the press release stresses, just "guitar, vocal, and occasional foot-stomp!". Sometimes, even the vocal is dispensed with on instrumental interludes such as 'Tell It to Jesus', 'Dust My Britches', 'Dobro Moon', and the not-inappropriately named 'Cool Vibe'.

Sadly, there isn't a song titled 'The Camp Fires are a Burnin'', but you can't have everything. And, although Rainwater name-checks a host of blues and gospel slide players, the self-penned songs win out, a point made clear by an unnecessary cover of 'Swing Low Sweet Chariot'.

Still, Rainwater can't be blamed for foot-stomping his traditional roots all over this CD. While not being a great fan of the authenticity watchdogs - on the grounds that they too often exclude music made by computers, friends of the Top 40 and women - in this case, the "genuine" article wins over pastiche. In other words, better than fucking Gomez.

by Laura Slattery