There are certain places known as Cosmopolitan cities, where music and art itself is quite eclectic. You can expect a large amount of everything that most of the time has nothing to do with each other, but they find the way to co-exist within the same space. On the other side, there are very niche regions in the world where they are known for a sound in particular. Rural towns, for example, more than anything, are known for their folkloric approach to music. You can expect once a rebel kid, but in most of the cases Country and Roots music runs through their veins.
Ranzel X Kendrick might have an unusual name, but the melodies that comes out of his guitar aren’t. The simple, yet beautiful music that he delivers on his new album Texas Paintbrush definitely pays homage to a particular group in the Lone Star State. Mentored by the Honky Tonk legend and Grammy winning artist Roger Miller, he’s definitely a student a teacher would feel proud of. Even though it isn’t a flawless album, the places Kendrick is willing to go on this album are more than welcome and makes of this record a very entertaining one. Ironically, it’s on the track where we don’t see him singing that personally stay with me the most, “Canyon Hymn” showcases the things a great guitar player can pull out with his instrument and the power hidden in the strings.
Speaking of which, while Ranzel’s vocals aren’t plain down awful – there are times on this record where they are out of tune and this alone helps unfortunately making out of this a very uneven material. There are times like in “Where The Wind Blows” where he has this background vocalist and they all blend together perfectly, and then it goes for this cover of “Stand By Me” where it hits some false notes that are very distracting. The large amount of noise too gives me the impression this wasn’t recorded at a studio, but rather an impromptu he recorded with a cellphone.
Criteria - 75%
Overall, this third album by the Texas native is a good introduction for many and a continuation for some. While not perfect, there seems to be a sense of effort as a whole.