Klef Notes

Music Reviews

Russell Craig "Call Me the Rain"

Right before National Wine Day here in the USA, I wanted to gift my readers with a small collection of songs from an artist whose music literally enlightens any mood.  The music is entitled “Call Me the Rain,” and the artist is Russell Craig – an Alternative singer/songwriter/musician from Auburn, Alabama. 

After living with this collection of music, I would describe Craig’s vocal sound as a mix of Randy Travis and Blake Shelton as he has that same smooth, smoky, storytelling, drink-in-hand style to his vocal’s character.  But when it comes to his prowess, what takes Russell Craig over the top is that attitude that he places into his songs.  Craig’s vocal mood is highlighted by his raspy, second tenor/baritone that just bespeaks Heartland machismo laced in practicality and blue jeans!  With each song, we are met with passionate melodies all brought to life by guitars and real-life narratives.  You can really take a hold of this collection of music.    

“Call Me the Rain” contains six tracks: 

  1. By Your Side
  2. The Night
  3. I’m Alive
  4. Call Me the Rain
  5. Turn Out the Lights
  6. Lies

This is my interpretation of the album’s highlights. 

If the exact idea of being silly in love could be placed in a song, “By Your Side” would be that song.  This Alternative Rock song deals with the subject matter of being high on life and love and living vivaciously in the moment, the lyrics sing:  why don’t you take me home, I’ll turn the radio on, I’ll take care of you like a man supposed to, I’ll turn that frown into a grin, I’ll be your lover, I’ll be your friend, and when you wake up in the morning light, I’ll still be by your side.  “By Your Side” has a playful chorus that is memorable and infectious and recalls those snapshot memories that we all love to collect and cherish.  “By Your Side” is a perfect way to open the album!

If you are looking for a nice Soft Rock / Alternative track, then look no further, as “The Night” offers us that mellowed-out vibe that eases you right into chill-mode.  Layers of guitars, easy percussions, and soft synths build this track and complements Craig’s laidback longing vocal. 

Craig makes it RAIN with his title track!

Starting with words “people call me the wall, cause I won’t break,” the stage is set for a hit-worthy Alternative County track filled with muscle.  “Call Me the Rain” is a track about underestimating the power within, and Craig displays this theme by singing in a low register that is both hot and heavy.  He expresses this emancipation of power with the lyrics:  girls call me the reptile, cause I’m like a snake, you can call me the wind cause I’ll blow you away, yeah, I’ve been called a lot of things, but call Me the Rain, call me the rain, cause I make it pour, call me the rain, outside the door, I’ll bring the thunder, and I will wash it all away, yeah, I’ve been called a lot of things but call me the rain.  Built with confident guitar riffs played by amplified acoustic guitars and electric guitars, the strut and swagger of the song excites the senses.  

Turn Out the Lights” is that romantic guitar-driven ballad that lyrically builds a story of sensuality.  Featuring instrumentation from majority guitars and percussions, the fifth track highlights the passion felt between two people when they are embraced making love, not lust, and how others might see this as wrong, but it is SO right.  The dual vocal on the hooks fully places the listener’s focus on the bonding of two lovers.  The way Craig runs his leads is almost R&B in its delivery.  This Alternative take on a Country Pop ballad makes it so massively commercially ready.  “Turn Out the Lights” gives that right bit of sexy making it romantic.

Flavored guitars start the closing song “Lies” – a song that induces the same feeling in its listeners that those honest mid-tempo tracks of the 1980s sung Jon Bon Jovi and Rick Springfield gave to its listeners – songs that just said it all.  I loved the rhyme scheme on the leads and the drumline that pushed this heartache song into a rebound track.  At the three minutes point, Craig lays into a guitar solo that is just fire!  Coming off the bridge, the song climbs softly and then closes gently with the guitar talking – splendid!

I feel that the purpose of this album was to connect the dots between the gray areas in life that makes our hearts beat while conversely providing enlightenment to what many see as complex emotions and issues, like areas of love, loyalty, and awkward moments, to name a few things.  In the same manner that a nice rain cleans the ground after a storm, Craig’s talent in knowing the right topic to explore, and the right instruments to enhance the story, brings clarity.  

Craig told me that he was born with a rare degenerative eye disease called Retinitis Pigmentosa, and that although his eyesight is deteriorating, his vision “has never been more clear.”  “Call Me the Rain” is evidence of this fact.  Each track is a pictorial set to music where the characters, scenes, and stories are up front in the present no matter the tense of the backdrop.  Every shape of the music’s sound, every color of the song’s mood, and every bend of the melody is vividly perceived. 

Russell Craig illustrates that it does not always take sight to evoke emotion in another, it takes insight.  Craig’s intense sense of understanding allows him to harness his gift and translate messages into music.  What a feat to accomplish; I cannot wait to hear what else he has to offer us. 

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