Artist Feature: J. Randy Krauss

That Gal Wears Black

New single release date June 3, 2023.

Double non Genre

CD Cover + Insert

Self-titled

A self-titled album cover.

Over the past few years I have been working with musician J. Randy Krauss on a variety of projects ranging from CD Covers to Posters to a full-blown CD Cover + Insert. See my post on his album ‘Double non Genre’ that my friend Jason Dack and myself created a while back with the sweetest insert (super proud of what we created)! Just like the good old days of sitting on the floor, listening to music while reading the album inside covers and leaflets.

Randy’s latest albums and singles are smoooooth and Canadian! His jazzy notes combined with hints of country remind me of what a good whiskey should drink like: smooth and gets better with age.

I had the priveledge of listening to the single ‘That Gal Wears Black’ ahead of its release date to help me design the CD Cover. The image itself has a cool story that begs to be told – it was created by one of Randy’s high school shop teachers in the early 70’s for Randy’s old band. That’s one cool cat to draw a poster for his student! I had Randy go to a professional scanner so he could send the digital file to me. It was faded, ripped in the corners, and had pencil and tape marks. I cleaned it up in Photoshop allowing me to continue with the design process. The poster was originally black and white but I changed the white to a cream colour and the black to a dark grey. I felt this suited the song better as it created wamer tones oozing with slickness.

The single ‘That Gal Wears Black’ releases June 3, 2023. This is one song you won’t want to miss!!

Hailing from Calgary Randy has produced several albums and his latest single ‘Walkin’ in Saskatoon’ is a rich and a romantically feel-good piece. Click here for a quick listen.

You can find Randy’s music on Spotify and on Apple Music.

Double non Genre by JR Krauss

I created and designed a CD cover and booklet top to bottom and side to side along with my friend Jason Dack. What a rush and experience it was. Woot!!

With it’s edgy guitar playing and smooth lyrics this album feels right on a long road trip or when I’m home with a really good sound system. It’s Canadiana – a music genre coined to reflect Canada’s diverse cultures and music. It’s fun, bright, catchy, romantic, honest and rockish with hints of country and jazz.

I met the man behind the tracks, Randy Krauss, a few years ago taking photos of a motorcycle event in Calgary. I did a bit of work for him afterwards putting together a really cool poster of his Norton 850 Commando. A beautiful bike! But, that’s another story.

© Cecile Gambin Photography
Bob Christy – Track 2 ‘Crows Road’ (L) and Randy Krauss (R) with his wicked Dusenberg Guitar.

Randy reached out to me early summer to see if I would be interested in creating a CD cover and inside booklet from start to finish. I would head up the entire operation. OMG! YES!! 

I spent a few weeks listening to the tracks and studied the title before I did anything else. Since I was on vacation it felt right to sit down by the dock with a Kracken n’ Coke to listen, think, feel and refine my ideas.

I contacted my friend Jason Dack, a fellow photographer and graphic artist, whom I knew enjoyed music and would appreciate working on this project. Together, we hashed out ideas and eventually created several images and layout options for Randy to choose from.

Once the layout was chosen my next step was to find a suitable duplication services company. I eventually chose Sask Media. Don, the owner, was instrumental in a timely production and was there the entire way answering emails on weekends, late at night etc.

© Cecile Gambin Photography
We used a combination of stock images as well as those I took from both an informal and formal photo sessions with Randy. We wanted the photos to reflect the songs and the vibe of the music.
© Cecile Gambin Photography

A large part of the success is that I understood what Randy wanted and was after. Take the cover for example, Randy a retired pilot, often saw dark, looming clouds while coming in for a landing in his native Southern Alberta. And, his explanation of how he remembered his mother in the song ‘Ella and Her Fella’ as a young boy had me in tears. The production of a CD is more than just putting photos together – it’s essential to get the vibe right and have the images tell a story that coincides with the songs, and the artist.

© Cecile Gambin Photography
© Cecile Gambin Photography

I could go on about how Jason and I put this together but it’s rather nerdy, and techy. It’s suffice to say that I couldn’t have done this without Jason’s savy Illustrator and graphic arts skill set. We met a lot of good people along the way, and had fun working and creating this project. Smart writing, talented musicians, recording gurus, photographers and graphic artists pulled together to create a very strong album.

You can find Double non Genre on Spotify, Apple Music, iTunes, Deezer and CD Baby. Or, click here for the full album. For the best experience grab a drink, sit back, crank it up and don’t be afraid to sing or play your favourite air-instrument.