- reviewed by Andy Argyrakis Copyright Christianity Today International
- 2009 20 Jan
- All the Years
- Heaven Waits
Some of Randall Goodgame's most familiar tunes are those recorded by other artists, most notably, the fifteen he's written for Caedemon's Call (including "Only Hope" and "Hand of the Potter"). His songwriting resume also features work alongside Andrew Peterson (most recently, the children's album Slug, Bugs and Lullabies), and he frequently collaborates with these artists and others as a member of the creative collective, The Square Peg Alliance.?
Outside of collaborations, Goodgame's an accomplished solo artist in his own right, flying a bit under the radar perhaps, but scoring critical acclaim every step of the way. His discography kicked off with 2000's Arkadelphia, followed by 2002's The Hymnal, 2004's War and Peace and now his Bluebird EP. As with past collections, this six-song project is loaded with warm, descriptive songwriting sure to please fans of Andrew Peterson and Chris Rice, not to mention easy-going and entertaining folk-pop arrangements by producer Quinlan (Rebecca St. James, The Benjamin Gate).
The opening title track could compete neck and neck with today's very best porch-pop and coffeehouse rock offerings. Beyond just the ear pleasing acoustics, there are plenty of poetic parallels to a bluebird filing high in the sky with nothing but freedom to fall on (applicable to matters of faith, art, and dreams in general). "All the Years" is far more placid in comparison, stripping down to a sparse piano ballad with light string accompaniment, yet allowing Goodgame's comforting vocals to come across like a textbook '70s songwriter (imagine James Taylor turning in his six-string for a keyboard).
"Heaven Waits" is also reflective, boasting the blue-eyed soul of Marc Broussard while giving a shout out to that very tunesmith's hometown of New Orleans. The lyrics are loosely dedicated to the survivors of Hurricane Katrina, while providing a more general sense of optimism amidst any hardship. "California," on the other hand, is less a tribute to the West Coast state than a mildly melancholic story of someone struggling and "seeking fortune in unfortunate times."
The glass is certainly half-full on more hopeful songs like "Jubilee," a vivacious old-time gospel hoedown that could easily break out at a Caedmon's Call concert. "Reverie" is also playful, a love song that conjures up '70s nostalgia by merging early Hall & Oates with the more stylish songcraft of Webb or Osenga. Bluebird is just tease before the next full-length CD, but it's enough to continue Goodgame's ascent up the solo ladder with witty songwriting and mature musical musings.