Having played on more than 500 albums and toured with artists that range from Hank III to Dolly Parton, Randy Kohrs has become one of the go-to musicians when there’s a need for a resophonic guitar. Dierks Bentley got noticed as a star-in-waiting with “What Was I Thinking,” a song driven largely by Kohrs Dobro. Jim Lauderdale won a Grammy for The Bluegrass Diaries, which not only featured Kohrs’ guitar skills but was also produced by Kohrs in his own studio.
“What’s so cool about the resophonic guitar is that it really has a voice,” explains Kohrs, who moved from his native Iowa to Nashville when he was 21. “I’ve played on blues records, Christian country records, some rock records, some weird, Daniel Lanois-type of lap steel stuff. The Dobro seems to fit in anywhere.”
They also discuss the next CD, Quicksand, due out next month.
When Kohrs starts putting together songs for a new album, he doesn’t favor his own songs or set aside room for a certain number of ballads; his goal is to pick the best available songs. Nevertheless, he does have certain criteria.
“Ballads should be breathtaking lyrically, and I really like story songs that don’t go so deep it requires listening to every word in the song to get the whole story. I guess that’s the commercial side of me poking out,” he explains. Kohrs has a love of story songs, and the first single off Quicksand is “Devil of the Trail,” about a woman named Sarah and her journey on the Oregon Trail. It was written by Kohrs and frequent collaborators Dennis Goodwin and Ashley Brown, who is also his fiddle player. Goodwin supplied the facts of the story, and Kohrs and Brown made a few changes to make it a more compelling tale.