Randall Branham is an artist who clearly draws from the wells of several songwriting giants to inform his own brand of sincere musicality. On Simple, Branham utilizes his apparent love for piano ballads and soft-rock musings to energize a kind-hearted and poignant record. Branham’s queries about life and love are relatively simple themselves, if not previously explored territory, but it’s hard to overlook an artist in the thick of some serious soul-searching.
Branham’s release will no doubt fare well with audiences who have a soft spot for the Five For Fightings and Josh Grobans of the world. Soft rock, through sometimes a derogatory term, is a term of endearment when it comes to Simple. Branham thrives in the sincerity of his work – take “Fly Away,” for example, a track that combines elements of wistful romantic imagery alongside a sonically polygamous chorus. Similarly, the closing track, “Last Hour” finds Branham with a tune slightly more inspirited than others found on the album, but one that ultimately beards the creative process found in the title of the record.
Branham’s soaring and confident vocals will be a comfort to many and familiar of a particular songwriting style wherein the vocalist is an emotional catalyst for many listeners. Simple may be easy listening but it is not uncomplicated. Branham’s record is anything but elementary, and at times spiritually complex.