Already a legendary playwright, Austin, TX based Randall Wheatley’s debut full-length CD release – Everything Matters, now brings his “rock star of the playwright world” into the realm of singer/songwriter status with an album that provides a wide variety of genres to find within the ten tracks which describe how Everything Matters to whoever it may be. Wheatley sings and plays ukulele with Austin’s finest core musicians to back him. It doesn’t matter if you’re hanging around the house or partaking in a road trip, it’s easy to follow how it’s all put together for the flow of his compelling story which is just as playful as it is serious.
The story begins with Wheatley delivering some soft guitar-lines before going into “Betty Goes Shopping” and it gets rather humorously descriptive from there, telling about a trip to Wal-Mart and all-of the typical holiday trials and tribulations with Betty sometimes getting what she deserves. The story gets a little dark but it’s all there for the taking to get the story up and running with everything from the storytelling to the fantastic melody driving it. The proceedings move right along on “Furniture As It Relates To The Failure Of Our Dreams” and you’re all the way into things by this time.
If your attention is not kept by now, it never will be, as this either works or it doesn’t, so it should be directed to the right audience first and foremost, but that is not to say it can’t somehow appeal to everyone who hears it. You just have-to follow more closely than the average album, because the story is a thread of interesting, funny and musically satisfying tracks continuing with “Letter From Shelby County.” This is where it gets inevitably dramatic but its kept short and sweet, so it never drags on. This one basically sets up the next track with the right level of energy going into it.
“Lyon” is the following result, and it’s a commanding track that plays well for the sake of song, rather than just the story it’s telling, which can be taken with a grain of salt or not, depending on what you take away from it. But it’s a cool tune and one of the better thus far in the storyline. He answers back with an even more musical statement with “Runway Lights” as it begins to become clear that it’s all about staying sane during the thick of all the end of the year antics people go through at Christmas time. And the rest of it gets easier to digest as it goes, with several more story’s/songs to wrap your present ears around.
Enjoy the ups and downs, because they’re all in there because Everything Matters, as it clearly expresses the finer and not so finer points of without being too vague or detailed about the boring stuff we go through. “Some Things Are Better Left Alone” seems to help describe it all-the more with another story that the music actually-gets the better of. It shows he can write, play and sing with everything it takes to make a good album without compromising his playwright talent. Only Wheatley’s knows what that is like, as he’s the one doing it, but “The Emperor Of Nothing” and “The Middle Ages” do the business to round out a top shelf effort by Wheatley and CO.