Texas-music stalwarts the Randy Rogers Band released their bright new album Nothing Shines Like Neon last week, a bonafide country album produced by Nashville vet Buddy Cannon. Led by songs like “Rain and the Radio,” a funky bit of Ronnie Milsap Eighties country, the barroom shuffle “Things I Need to Quit” and an old-school duet with Jamey Johnson, “Actin’ Crazy,” Neon expertly marries the country-rock of the Red Dirt scene with classic country twang.
“I have been trying to convince our band to put out a stone-cold country record for years and years. I grew up listening to a lot of early Nineties country that doesn’t sound like anything on the radio these days,” Rogers tells Rolling Stone Country. “The record is a country album because we wanted it to be. We set out to make this record. In years past, there have been country songs on our record, but we didn’t set out to make a country album as a whole. Every song that we wrote or chose for this record, they all have the same vein. We did that on purpose.”
Especially “Actin’ Crazy,” a collaboration with Johnson that recalls the partnership between Waylon Jennings and Willie Nelson. The song was inspired by a rowdy show in Los Angeles that left Rogers ruminating on the competitive life of Hollywood up-and-comers, like Entourage star Adrian Grenier.
“I got to thinking about his life before Entourage. He’s a little known actor and all of a sudden he’s a movie star,” says Rogers. “How many more people just like him are having to deal with the traffic and the smog and the high rent and the copious amounts of other people trying to be movie stars, and how frustrating that must be.”