A Singer/Songwriter like Randy Coleman is in one of the most difficult positions in music these days. He can sing, play guitar and write songs. However, he's not in the same league as John Mayer, Jason Mraz or Ryan Tedder who he will most likely be compared to. Unless you're a Nashville guy, there doesn't seem to be a lot of room on the radio for perfectly competent and talented artists like Coleman. His music is superbly radio friendly, but he won't receive any credit because he lacks a "hip" factor in his artistry. In a sense, he's almost punished because he's more similar to artists like Vertical Horizon or Shawn Mullins rather than an imitation-Bob Dylan or a flower-child straight out of a Laurel Canyon time machine. He isn't Edward Sharpe and there is no Magnetic Zeros behind him. There's no retro kitsch. Part of the problem is that we tend to think of artists like Coleman as relatively ordinary. Granted, in the spectrum of commercial radio-friendly music, he is. But, in comparison to the rest of us, he certainly isn't. Having lived in the "Live Music Capitol of The World" in Austin, TX, I never saw a single local artist who was as good—and was as much of "the real deal"—as Randy Coleman.
The California native was already "discovered" once in his career. For several years in the early 2000s, he was the leader of an outfit called "Zoo Story," which featured former Tonic drummer Kevin Shepard on drums. The band was signed to 333 Records, a Universal Music imprint. It seemed to be their ticket in but, unfortunately, it turned out to be Zoo Story's only trophy. Universal closed 333 Records and—poof!—Through no fault of their own, the band was sucked into a black hole.
Coleman continued on with a solo career releasing Last Salutation independantly in 2006. While the album failed to find an audience, the title track appeared on an episdode of Scrubs, giving this artist his first—and only—sweet pat on the back. I discovered Randy Coleman a few years ago when we were both competing in a songwriting contest on the now defunct garageband.com. I feel compelled to write this article, because I have the utmost respect for very talented people. Randy Coleman is very talented and if that sort of thing means more to you than trendiness, I recommend you check him out.
Last Salutation by Randy Coleman