Contains the in-a-perfect-world summer hit Transistor Radio," a worthy successor to Can't Let Go"
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Randy Weeks isn't what you'd call a shameless self-promoter. In fact, he'd so much rather write songs and go on the road performing them that he more or less forgot to release his new album Sugarfinger. Finally, friends in the business reminded him that he needed to release the album if only to give birth to one of the finest potential summer radio hits since The Beach Boys or the Raspberries. You know, you're right, I should really get that out," he conceded. And with that, Sugarfinger, featuring the hit track Transistor Radio," will see the light of day on August 22, 2006.
Transistor Radio," which can be streamed at http://www.myspace.com/ randyweeks, has enjoyed months of airplay on tastemaking Los Angeles NPR station KCRW-FM, embellished by plays on Indie 103.1 FM's Watusi Rodeo" program. Most listeners -- and even the radio programmers themselves -- assumed the album was out by now. And it's true, Weeks sold a few out of the back of his truck at gigs. But no, no official release 'til now.
The popularity of Transistor Radio" shouldn't come as a surprise to those who know Weeks from his earlier composition Can't Let Go," covered by Lucinda Williams and performed by her on Saturday Night Live, and more recently by Sony Nashville artist Ashley Monroe. Weeks' songs have also appeared in such notable works of cinema as Sunshine State," Shallow Hal," Say It Isn't So," Jack Frost," The Ringer" and Country Bears."
Weeks grew up hanging out at his parents' pool hall in Southern Minnesota. So it stands to reason that he's most at home at a dining room-sized shot'n'beer joint near his home called the Cinema Bar in Culver City, Calif., where he holds forth on alternating Saturday nights (with no cover charge). His band consists of the venerable Tony Gilkyson on guitar and the no- less-venerable Mike Stinson -- a brilliant singer/songwriter in his own right -- on drums.
Weeks was also at home at North Hollywood's long-defunct and sadly missed honky tonk The Palomino, where his band, the Lonesome Strangers, were pioneers of West Coast alt-country alongside Dwight Yoakam and Lone Justice. The Strangers consisted of Weeks along with Gilkyson (X, Lone Justice), Dan Heffington (Bob Dylan, Emmylou Harris) and Kip Boardman. The Strangers recorded for both for HighTone Records (Lonesome Strangers, 1989) and for producer Pete Anderson's Little Dog Records (Land of Opportunity, 1997).
Weeks' 2000 debut solo album for HighTone Records titled Madeline i>, which contained the original Can't Let Go," proved a natural progression from his Lonesome Strangers days, the songs hookier but no less honky tonk. By now, Culver City's Cinema Bar had become his living room, resulting in a 2003 self-released album Sold Out at the Cinema Bar. The songs were notable, but again there was question as to whether the album was out. Finally, the follow-up, Sugarfinger, will see the light of brick and mortar retail in August 2006 -- in time to catch a little summer top-down radio action for Transistor Radio."
Sugarfinger was produced by Jamie Candiloro, whose engineering credits include R.E.M., Ryan Adams and Willie Nelson. Besides Transistor Radio," the album features Fu Manchu" (in which a girl grows tired of her boyfriend's facial hair), Going to Heaven" (a Louvin Brothers-inspired song about a murder) and If You Don't Take the Medicine."
While Sugarfinger waits to be born, Weeks will hightail it to his two geographic arcs of recognition -- Texas and the Upper Midwest. But he won't stray too far from the Cinema Bar. So get your tip money ready. And maybe spring for a copy of Sugarfinger, the album that almost forgot to be released.