Randall King Serves Pure Country with His Debut Album ‘Shot Glass’

by Clayton Edwards
(Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images)

Randall King isn’t new to country music. The Texas native has been releasing singles and EPs for the better part of a decade. In 2018, he self-released a self-titled album. Then, a year later he signed to Warner Music Nashville. With that record deal under his belt, Randall King put together his major-label debut album Shot Glass. It finally dropped today.

Fans of Randall King have been waiting for this album for what feels like forever. Those who love real country music who don’t know King will be just as pleased to hear Shot Glass. King is one of a handful of neotraditionalist country singers who are working to push the genre back to its more country-sounding roots. The music of artists like King, Cody Johnson, and John Pardi sounds like classic early-90s country and we’re here for it.

Shot Glass highlights the range that Randall King has as a musician. There are toe-tapping, neon-tinged tracks like “Baby Do” and slow, sultry numbers like “Can’t You Feel How That Sounds.” King even added a beautiful and deeply personal arrangement of the classic hymn “I’ll Fly Away.” When I tell you that this album has something for everyone, I mean it.

Randall King on His Debut Album

Before Shot Glass dropped, Randall King sat down with Billboard to discuss the album and some of the songs on it. According to the interview, Shot Glass is a concept album. It’s set in a bar and each song is the story of a patron. The album’s title track, co-penned by Brett James and Tony Lane, inspired the concept.

“In the song, you take a shot and you’re hit with a memory. You’re hit with several memories throughout this song and you step back and go, ‘How did all that fit into a shot glass?’ So we took that concept and amplified it,” King told Billboard. He went on to say, “I’m the bartender on this album, and each song is an individual taking a shot at the bar — and then you’re watching it all play out.”

King Discusses Tracks from Shot Glass

This album contains 11 songs and Randall King co-penned seven of them. However, one of the four he didn’t co-pen is “I’ll Fly Away” and his arrangement of the hymn is as fresh as it is moving. During his chat with Billboard, the Texas native discussed a handful of tracks from the record.

“Roger, Miller Lite and Me”

“Roger, Miller Lite and Me” is a breakup song about a guy whose lady leaves him with nothing but his records and some cold ones. At the same time, the song serves as a hat tip to the great Roger Miller. About the song, King said, “I love Roger Miller’s phrasing, and the random words that he’ll throw in and his rhyme scheme. He will manipulate words into fitting around a scheme, and I think that’s brilliant. We threw some of Roger’s titles in there. It’s just a big tip of the hat to one of our heroes. And it’s a beer-drinking song on top of that.”

“I’ll Fly Away”

Fans of Randall King heard his version of “I’ll Fly Away” long before he dropped this album. He included it in his 2020 EP Leanna, which was a tribute to his sister who passed away in April of that year. Before she passed, she was Randall’s biggest fan. “My sister was at every show that she could possibly be at. Any time I was around west Texas, she was there. When I played the Ryman, she was there. My sister was absolutely my biggest supporter, my biggest fan.”

Leanna went on to Glory with her family gathered around her, singing gospel songs. They were singing “I’ll Fly Away” as she went Home. King recalled, “I sang her home to Jesus with ‘I’ll Fly Away.’ And any time I play west Texas, I still look through the bars looking for her.”

Thoughts on the New Randall King Album

In short, Randall King put together one hell of an album. If you like country music, you’re going to love it. Shot Glass is one of those records you can put on and just let it play. If you’re looking to drink a few beers and have a good time, it’s a great soundtrack. Songs like “Hard Way To Make It Rain” and “Baby Do” are perfect for that. On the other hand, if you want to pull your partner close and slow dance in the living room, turn on “You In a Honky Tonk” or “Can’t You Feel How That Sounds” and move the furniture.