Award winning singer songwriter, Randy Lewis Brown released his fifth (5th) solo album, Wind of Change on his 70th birthday, September 30, 2022. Hailing from Mineola, TX (or as Brown puts it, “the upper east side of Texas”), Brown has a been piling up awards and accolades for over two decades. Wind of Change will most likely add some new trophies to his case.
Wind of Change opens up with “Desoto Parrish Nights,” a look back at growing up in pre-civil rights Louisiana. “Desoto Parrish Nights” starts off as a reminiscence of Brown’s childhood, sleeping in the back seat of his parents’ car while they delivered the Shreveport Times and progresses to “There in our little rent house in Mansfield, LA, I’d be dreaming of a bigger world from inside my tiny room.” Brown then shifts gears and leads us into what the dark side of the era truly looked like, “then one Sunday evening, a black couple came from Shreveport and sat down on the back pew as the communion trays were passed around, ‘They’re only hear to stir up trouble, that’s what our preacher told us, the deacons headed for the back and quickly showed them out.'”
Brown delves into the shame of remembrance of how life was then, “I hang my head when I remember those ‘whites only’ signs on restrooms, and how casually we used that word. As if we had a right. And sometimes on summer evenings, you could smell the crosses burning, deepening the darkness of Desoto Parrish Nights”. It took me awhile to get past this one and into the rest of Wind of Change just due to the immensity of the song.
Other highlights on Wind of Change include “My Hat and Your Guitar,” the title track, “Wind of Change’”and “Why They Call It Fishing.”
“My Hat and Your Guitar’”is a love song and lament as Brown looks back over a fifty-year relationship. “My hat and your guitar, there on Gramma’s wedding quilt. Underneath the live oak tree, behind the cabin Grampa built. It’s an old and faded picture, taken fifty years gone by, when we were young and happy, under blue hill country skies.” I can see my great grandfather singing this one sitting on my great grandmother’s grave in the years after she passed. “I’ll slip on that sweat stained Stetson, take your Martin from its case. Sit down on that tattered quilt, plant bluebonnets on your grave. Then I’ll play the Wildwood Flower but not as good as you. Sing the twine and mingle bright with its emerald hue. Photographs and memories fade like old tattoos and scars, till all that’s left for me to hold is my hat and your guitar.” This one definitely hits home.
“Wind of Change” changes direction a bit, with more instrumentation and a faster pace than several songs on the album. Listening to it, it is easy to see why it’s the title track. “Wind of Change” like every other song on the album shows Brown’s talent with words, “That wind was always blowing, it’s been blowing since the first. It was blowing when the dinosaurs took their last look at this earth. What makes us think it’s gonna stop, hell, it’s never stopped before. It’ll be blowing on that final day when we’re the dinosaurs. That wind of change.”
Even with the depth of lyrics “Wind of Change” has, you will find your foot tapping to this one.
“Why They Call it Fishing” immediately took me back to those pre-dawn mornings spent on a creek or river bank with my father or grandfather so many mornings of my youth. While I never fly fished, it was the same words of wisdom that were imparted to me. “That’s why we call it fishing, not catching, caught or keeping. That early bird is eating worms while the rest of us are sleeping. I go out with intention but in truth I’m only wishing. Ain’t no sure thing in this world. That’s why they call it fishing.” You’ll find yourself in hip waders beside Brown in some small creek on this one.
After listening to Wind of Change you will understand why Brown has been stockpiling awards for decades at this point. If you are a fan of Texas Troubadours like Guy Clark and Billy Jo Shaver, you definitely want to listen to Brown’s catalog of work including his latest, Wind Of Change.
Find the music and more information here: https://randylewisbrown.com/home
Note our earlier coverage of Randy Lewis Brown here: Song Premiere: Randy Lewis Browns “One Horse Town”
And enjoy Randy’s column here: How Terribly Strange To Be Seventy