War and Peace
- Part 1
- Part 2
- Part 3
- Susan Coats’ Pants
- So Far Away
- Share the Well
- The Legend of Pope Joan
- Dear America
- The Opener
- She’s Gone Forever
- I Did Not Catch Her Name
All songs written by Randall Goodgame, with assistance from Andrew Peterson on one song.
Produced by Randall Goodgame and Ben Shive
Engineered and Mixed by Josh Davis at Woodland Studio C in Nashville, TN
Mastered by Al Willis.
Additional Engineering by Ben Shive, Laura Taylor, Craig Countryman, Ben James, and Mark Polak.
Additional Recordings were live in Traverse City, MI, with Andrew Osenga at The Velvet Eagle in Nashville, TN, with Justin Orton at the Stone Angel in Ashland City, TN, and in the office of Randall Goodgame in Spring Hill, TN.
Booking: Paper Street Agency
Randall Goodgame- guitar, vocal, shaker, vocals, charango
Amy Goodgame- harmony vocal
Ben Shive- piano, Wurlitzer, rhodes, accordion
Kenny Meeks- electric guitars, harmony vocal
Garett Buell, Will Sayles- drums, percussion
Mark Polak, Craig Nelson- upright bass, bass
Calvin Turner- bass
Rob Ickes- dobro
Amanda Larson- violin
Paul Moak- pedal steel
Todd Bragg- drums
Justin Orton- percussion
Jeff Irwin- upright bass
Andrew Peterson- intro
Laura Taylor, Wendy Vedders, Bethany Mason, Gale Rowe- background vocals
Randall Goodgame’s name may not be familiar, but anyone who listens to Christian radio has undoubtedly heard a song he has written. Goodgame has penned several hit songs for Caedmon’s Call, including “Only Hope,” and “Hands of the Potter,” and he co-wrote much of Caedmon’s most recent album, Share the Well. Having shared the stage with many great songwriters such as Andrew Peterson, Jars of Clay, and Pierce Pettis, Goodgame has carved himself out a nice little corner in the highly underrated “folk/blues/rock” genre of Christian music.
Goodgame’s latest project, War and Peace, showcases his seasoned songwriting skills and his buttery vocals, creating a “Sunday afternoon” atmosphere. The album begins with a trilogy of interrelated songs about Charlie Brown, adeptly titled “Part 1,” Part 2,” and “Part 3.” Comparisons to Chris Rice’s infamous “Cartoon Song,” are inevitable, although Goodgame takes his cartoons a bit more serious. The Peanuts characters are the subject of the smooth folk rock songs. However, the lyrics seem to hold a deeper meaning of lamenting the loss of innocence and of simpler times in which Charlie Brown ruled the world. Unfortunately, amidst the sweet, heartfelt lyrics lies one of the cheesiest lines I have heard in a long time, “no more original snoop dog.” That mishap aside, “Parts 1-3″ start strong and set the tone for the rest of the album.
“Susan Coats’ Pants,” an upbeat song about thrift store pants, is next on the album. The song begins on a humorous note and fades into a more serious set of lyrics about the bravery of soldiers. “So Far Away,” a smooth, piano-laden song carries on with the subject of war. Goodgame wrote the song for a friend who left his wife and child to be a soldier in Iraq for a year. “Share the Well,” a hit single Goodgame wrote for Caedmon’s Call follows. The song’s sound is not as full as it is on Caedmon’s album, and it is difficult to keep from comparing the two. Goodgame’s lyrics about reaching out to the Dalits, India’s untouchable caste, urges followers of Christ to take action. “The Legend of Pope Joan,” leaves the serious and enters the absurd. Goodgame wrote the song as a joke for “The Weeklings,” a group of songwriters who meet together, including Andrew Peterson. The beauty of “Pope Joan,” is that Goodgame sings the song seriously, making it even more hilarious. “Dear America” follows, re-introducing the subject of war and patriotism. “The Opener,” a song about opening up for another band is next. The song seems a bit out of place on War and Peace because it does not relate to any of the subjects Goodgame has addressed thus far. “She’s Gone Forever” is one of the most sober songs on the album. It combines a country-twinged sound with lyrics about losing a loved one. “I Did Not Catch her Name,” another song Caedmon’s Call sang on Share the Well, closes War and Peace. Again, it is hard not to compare the delivery of the song to Caedmon’s superior version, but the lyrics about a woman who had nothing and everything are very touching.
War and Peace, like its title suggests, is a bit of a paradox. On the one hand, it is a beautifully-written and skillfully delivered piece of art. On the other hand, it is a bit boring. Goodgame’s vocals change little from song to song, and the whole album seems to melt together. Nonetheless, Goodgame is for the most part an excellent songwriter and fans of Andrew Peterson and Caedmon’s Call should definitely check him out.
Review date: 10/15/05, written by Laura Nunnery
I had the good fortune to slip my new copy of Randall Goodgame’s War and Peace into the car’s CD player on a perfect spring day as I drove to my daughter’s soccer game through woods aflame with the sun’s warm rays. The air was sweet with the hope of summer and Goodgame’s delicious and delightful songs filled the car and my mind with irrational joy, the best kind.
His fourth solo album, War and Peace, features very solid musicianship, his usual warm vocals, and his signature mix of sly humor and poignancy; and the overall effect is stunning. If he’s new to you, think ’70s folk scene, a la Don McLean, but you’re probably more familiar than you know, for his songwriting skills have much to do with the popularity of Caedmon’s Call. His “Share the Well” is included on War and Peace, which any CC fan will quickly recognize. This is one of the more overtly serious tunes you’ll love about this CD.
Everyone of a certain age will suspect within a few minutes of the first bars of opener, “Part 1″, that Goodgame is referring to Peanuts and the Charlie Brown gang, but you’re sure you’re mistaken, however, you’re not. The first several tracks, in fact, are delightfully tongue-in-cheek and I was immediately enthralled. Ben Shive’s lovely, lonely piano sounds all the more beautiful accompanying these sly lyrics. It’s the fifth tune, “So Far Away”, before Goodgame gets serious with a vengeance, having written the song for a friend who spent a year in Iraq away from his wife and baby girl. Kenny Meeks’ electric guitar yanks on your heartstrings with intensity and Goodgame’s story-telling chops score once again; he compellingly portrays the agonies of distance. His poignancy continues to tug on your heart and mind with “Dear America”.
The whole project is a wonderful mix of the profoundly thoughtful and the delightfully nonsensical, but beware, even the nonsense contains nuggets of truth. The bluesy “The Legend of Pope Joan” tells of the ninth-century Englishman who served two years as Pope before pulling to the side of the road to give birth. My favorite cut has to be the wickedly clever “The Opener”, where Goodgame joyously mocks every backstage privilege and in the process, quietly calls us to humility. Score! Believe me, miss your bus if you must, miss your message, miss your train, but do not miss Randall Goodgame’s War and Peace. You’d never forgive yourself.