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Don't forget to vote today! And here are some random polls about country music. Write-ins go in the comments.
May 21, 2016
Mar 16, 2016
The first thing you notice when you go to a show at Hill Country BBQ here in DC is usually the smell of delicious Texas-style BBQ cooking on the main level. Once you get downstairs, the second thing you notice is how un-DC it is. The small venue which holds about 300 brings lots of smaller (at least in this region) country and roots acts from across the country to a small, intimate stage. Usually you can be right up close and personal with artists who are on their way to never playing to as little as 300 people on a bad night in a different country. I saw Sturgill Simpson play here 2 years ago and I believe there were around 50 people. That singular experience has shaped my love for this little venue in the heart of DC.
So, with that in mind, after the recommendation of this great site's end of year list and word from my girlfriend's sister and her boyfriend, I ended up at Hill Country on Saturday night to watch William Clark Green.
To be honest, I had listened to his latest album a time or two, but I just didn't put in much time with it for whatever reason. Life, other albums, and work can sometimes get in my way, but that's neither here nor there. As the show got closer to start time, the bar filled up with ex-Texans (you don't have to ask Texans if they are from Texas, they'll proudly tell you without provocation).
The show kicked off with "Next Big Thing" off of Green's recent album Ringling Road. By the end of the song, I knew it was going to be a hell of a show. While the song on the album is a damn good song, the song live hit another level. I mean, it had more bite than what is already a biting song- the sarcasm soaked chorus was a stellar singalong among the nearly 300 people there. It did leave me wondering how many people in the crowd had labeled WCG as the next big thing themselves. I mean, it's so easy to do these days where we WANT an artist as honest and as talented as WCG to be the next big thing. We try to will them to be the next big thing. But, as WCG asks, "what's that mean?" But, that's a conversation for another day and beer...
As I mentioned earlier, I hadn't really heard much of WCG until the last few months, so I had no real idea what to expect out of the show. And, let me tell you, that may have been the best way to see the show. I mean, WCG and his backing band played with a cohesion many bands I've seen wish they played with. On songs like "She Likes The Beatles" and "Ringling Road," the band truly shined. WCG commands his bandmates to keep up with his never-ending energy, and they are more than capable of responding to the task.
By the end of the show, it's safe to say that WCG had gained a few new fans. A few years ago I really couldn't get into the whole Red Dirt/Texas Country scene. For some reason, it seemed somewhat bland. It wasn't long after that that it hit me (I think it was when I saw Reckless Kelly and Randy Rogers Band). Since first becoming truly enamored with the whole scene, I don't think any band has been more invigorating or more fun to watch live. I saw Drive-By Truckers a couple of weeks ago at the esteemed 9:30 Club here in DC. It was amazing. I don't know how William Clark Green's career will go. I know how it should go. He SHOULD be the next big thing. He SHOULD be selling out the 9:30 Club along with the likes of Drive-By Truckers. It starts with us, the fans. This guy is the real deal, y'all. Go see him when he comes around. Go buy his whole catalog.
Aug 31, 2015
Apr 21, 2015
William Clark Green has hit a proverbial home run with his latest effort, Ringling Road. Forgive the Baseball analogy, but it is April. At the time I am writing this, my beloved Cubs are sitting atop the NL Central Division, so you know where my head is at! As for WCG, this is really nothing new to those of us who have followed the Lubbock, Texas based artist from jump street.
Though, this album seems a bit more polished and fine-tuned production wise than his previous work (that isn't a bad thing!), it never draws you away from his skillfully crafted lyrics, and soulful voice. Ringling Road marks the second collaborative effort between Green and producer Rachel Loy.
WCG has a knack for storytelling and pulling you into a song. As most brilliant artists do, he creates vivid mental imagery, with lines like "the interstate's pumping like a vein, full of California plates." You can't help but picture that, and then listen for the next great line!
With every record, Green matures a little more, digs a little deeper, and evolves. He rolls along like a well oiled machine, recycling and repurposing bits and pieces of whatever pops up to sting him along the way, and uses them as inspiration.....mastering his craft one step at a time. I wasn't surprised at all with Ringling Road. More great songs, great melodies, and sonically pleasing rhythms.
WCG, here, has distilled and perfected a lot of what we Texas music fans have grown to love from the better artists in our 'genre.' I'll refrain from the "thumbs up" cliché in my review, because I think that may be copyright infringement, but I will say this: I wish I had more thumbs for this record! I haven't liked every single track on an album since the release of Down The Hatch by Oklahoma powerhouse, The Damn Quails. Ringling Road is out today on iTunes, Amazon, Lone Star Music, and other outlets. Buy it!
Jamie Berryhill is a Texan, singer, songwriter, guitarist, and booking agent for 7th Planet Entertainment Group. He's only doing this gig for free wi-fi.
Jan 19, 2015
Jul 1, 2013
6. Ashley Monroe - Like a Rose
7. Son Volt - Honky Tonk
9. Fifth on the Floor - Ashes & Angels
10. Quaker City Night Hawks - Honcho
Honorable Mentions: Kacey Musgraves - Same Trailer Different Park, Run the Jewels - s/t, JJ Grey and Mofro - This River, Jimbo Mathus - White Buffalo, QOTSA - ...Like Clockwork, Water Liars - Wyoming.
May 23, 2013
Rose Queen, Green's third album, proves the still young artist one to watch for the foreseeable future. Hitting the airwaves with equal parts radio-ready tunes and darker journeys (sometimes in the same song), it is a release that shows both arrival and massive upside.
The title track is a heartland rocker that explores the short-lived relationship between a regular Joe and a country club girl. It's drenched in fast-burning passion and the resignation that there was no chance in hell of it lasting. Mellencamp made millions doing this kind of song; Green should at least get a touring bus out of the deal.
"She Likes the Beatles" is the most commercial sounding tune in the bunch. She likes the Beatles, he likes the Stones, but they make it work somehow. It explores the contrasts that keep a good relationship strong, even if their respective sets of parents hate the other set's half of the couple. It's probably the song that could make the most impact nationally, but there's likely too much personality and realism in the song for Nashville to give it a second glance.
"Drowning" is the literal and emotional center of Rose Queen. Backed by stunning vocals from producer(!) Rachel Loy, it's a stark and beautiful stroll along the edges of a broken love affair.
My favorite track on the record is "Take Me Away." "If you take me away from here/I will make a promise I will never keep" sings Green in this raw, emotionally bare song that veers away from country into almost a mainstream rock sound. The dark, confessing tone of this song proves itself a theme by this point in the album, a surprising thread to tie together such a charming set of songs.
Rose Queen immediately proves William Clark Green ready for the spotlight. He's an artist worthy of running in the circles of the critically and popularly acclaimed Turnpike Troubadours and Departeds of the world. What's scary is that Green probably hasn't reached his creative peak yet. Rose Queen is both promise realized and the declaration of so much more to come.
Highly recommended to fans of: Turnpike Troubadours, Ryan Adams, John Fullbright, Chris Knight, Ryan Bingham and Randy Rogers Band.
Rose Queen can be previewed/purchased at Amazon, Lone Star Music and the other usual outlets.