After spending significant time immersed in the world of gospel music, Randy Travis has released his first album in nine years that includes secular themes. This is not to say, however, that Around the Bend completely abandons Travis’ spiritual inclinations. Songs like “Faith In You,” “Dig Two Graves,” “You Didn’t Have A Good Time” and “Every Head Bowed” still touch upon spiritual elements, but the album is not overtly spiritual in feel or content.
Three of the album’s best tracks are “Dig Two Graves,” “Don’t Think Twice” and “’Til I’m Dead And Gone.” “Dig Two Graves” is a sweet ode from a man to his wife. He acknowledges that if she goes first, two graves might as well be dug because it won’t be long before he follows— at least emotionally, if not physically. “Don’t Think Twice” is a cover of a Bob Dylan classic, but is given a decidedly country production that is probably more energetic than any other version thus far. While the romper, “’Til I’m Dead And Gone,” works well as an album closer, it would have worked even better as an opener. It is the most energetic song on the album and the band lets loose with thrilling guitar solos throughout.
Other noteworthy songs include “From Your Knees,” a Leslie Satcher composition using the “A house is not a home” adage to good effect: ““He waited too late to say he was wrong/His house was still standing, but his home was gone/Brother, you would not believe/What you can see from your knees.” While the title to “Every Head Bowed” may sound like it will be a praise and worship song, it’s actually an amusing account of the perceived hardship of parental enforced religious practices from a child’s perspective. “Everything I Own Has A Dent” is another cleverly written song. The man admits that he has a temper, which has created literal dents in all of his possessions, including his heart: “She used to say I’m a man who’s too hard on stuff/And she let me know that also goes for our love.”
This seventeenth studio album from Randy Travis may not be his strongest effort, but it is a solid record that easily matches the caliber of his other albums. He still sounds vibrant and continues to have a good ear for quality songs.
Kinda sad when that was the part that got my attention. ;-)
I love me some Randy and am so glad he’s still around.
He’s still good, he’s still entertaining in all aspects, and we haven’t been beaten over the head with him all these years (looking at you, George Strait).
He’s just some good ole country who while he may miss the mark sometimes, he’s never too far off.
I noted elsewhere that this album is a good effort on Randy’s part with the title track being the weakest track on the album. I also would have made “Love Is A Gamble” the first single.
I’m afraid that Randy is forever doomed to be in the shadow of his first (major label) album STORMS OF LIVE , my nominee for the best album of the last 30 years. Having started at that height, there was nowhere to go but down, although the descent was very gradual and encompassed a number of excellent albums along the way
I remain a huge Randy Travis fan. At his best, he is the best artist of the last thirty years, bar none.