Brandon Rhyder “Live at Billy Bob’s Texas” – Album Review
"Live At Billy Bob's Texas" is a series of live CD releases which has seen an interesting balance of performers and performances over the years. LABBT has featured brilliant performances from legends like Merle Haggard, Asleep At The Wheel, Willie Nelson and others. And over the past few years, the series has welcomed in what they call "up and coming" artists like Bleu Edmondson, Wade Bowen and others who have seen a lot of success on the Texas/Red Dirt scene. Now Brandon Rhyder has his turn.
Rhyder is the latest artist to be granted the opportunity to record a "Live At Billy Bob's Texas" CD. A choice that is as good as any, since Brandon makes the top 5 on regional charts with every song he has released on his past three studio albums.
Plainly stated, Rhyder has enough regional hits to fit on a double-live CD, with plenty of room for a couple of new songs, a couple of covers, and few studio cuts on the back end of disc 2. He's also been around long enough to have a couple of bigger names join him on stage (Walt Wilkins and Radney Foster, who between them, have also produced Rhyder's last several studio albums).
Oh yeah, Brandon is also a very talented singer and songwriter. He clearly brought his "A" game that night at Billy Bob's, and the usually unforgiving LABBT recording managed to expose Rhyder for what he is: a very solid performer. His hits like "Have I Waited Too Long" "Battery", "Freeze Frame Time", and his reworking of the Don Williams hit "Lord I Hope This Day Is Good" come through with a great combination of energy found at a great live show, and professionalism you expect from a studio album. This is among the best LABBT CD's in recent years. I compare it, quality-wise, to Wade Bowen's 2009 CD.
I know what you're saying: "If Brandon Rhyder is so awesome, why isn't he a household name?"
I'll tell you why. Brandon Rhyder doesn't fit a musical genre, and he probably never will. He's got a pop-rock voice, writes country/americana songs, and his band is loaded with southern rock and country influence. I may be the only one who feels this way, but it's difficult to avoid comparison in some ways to Lyle Lovett.
Brandon is a great guy, a humble family man who likes the connection he shares with his fans. He seems prefer to be the proverbial big fish in a small pond. That's just fine with his fans, who can still afford a ticket to his shows, and he plays around 200 of them a year. So, if you decide not to buy Brandon's LABBT CD, I'm willing to bet it's more because you can get the real deal several times a year in your own backyard than any lack of quality.
Watch a clip of Brandon Rhyder's "Lord, I Hope This Day is Good" performed Live at Billy Bob's Texas