Showing posts with label William Clark Green. Show all posts
Showing posts with label William Clark Green. Show all posts

Mar 25, 2022

Album Review / William Clark Green / Baker Hotel

By Travis Erwin

William Clark Green has never been an artist that you could confuse with another performer. Some might describe him as quirky, or eccentric as not only is the gravel in his voice a bit different sounding, but often his songwriting takes a unique approach as well. His hit “Ringling Road” certainly covered different ground in creating its unique vibe and there is a good bit of that same spirit on Green’s new album Baker Hotel. The inspiration for the album name comes from an actual hotel with a very intriguing history of its own. 

For years, decades actually, The Baker Hotel has loomed in state of urban decay over the quaint town of Mineral Wells, Texas. Despite opening just after the big stock market crash of 1929, the once glorious resort and spa was a hot destination for both the famous and infamous through the 30s but advances in medicine took the shine off the mineral water that rises from the ground and the hotel was eventually shuttered in 1963. Plans are in the works to renovate and bring the place back to life, but for years the rumored ghosts have been the only occupants of this hulking relic.

Ironic then that the first track on William Clark Green’s homage to the building, is song called “Feel Alive.” The track has a Robert Earl Keen vibe to the rhythm and cadence of the delivery. Green and Keen do not sound all that much alike, but both artists could be called unconventional, and both convey the same kind of raw emotion. This opening track lifted me up the way Keen’s “Feeling Good Again” tends to do and set the tone for an intriguing collection of songs.

The next two tracks, “Gun To Your Head,” and “Give A Damn” deliver the sound WCG is known for and while both are nice tracks with that vocal gravel leading the way, neither song swept me up and away the way Green can when at his best. That said both tracks have heart and passion even while utilizing a structure more like other songs from the genre than some of WCG’s biggest hits.

The fourth track “Anymore” could be my favorite from the album. Coming with a slower build, the track has a vulnerability that feels all the more raw because of WCG’s vocal style. The despair and loneliness and regret comes through in every line. 

The title track, “Baker Hotel” is the kind of quirky song that WCG pulls off so well. The track has a similar vibe as Ringling Road and WCG embraces that fact rather than running from it with the end result almost feeling like a sequel as he invites the ghosts of this iconic landmark to come out and play chicken with the mortals looking for a thrill.    

Every good artist needs a dog song, and while most extol the virtues of man’s so-called best friend, true to his form, Green takes a different approach. This “Dog Song” has a Guy Clark vibe as man and beast compete for the love of a good woman. “All Pot No Chicken” comes next to keep the fun, energetic vibes going. 

“Getting Drunk” is a slower, more tender track looking at the residue of living that party lifestyle and for all of us that have ever had those nights, or a string of such nights, the track will resonate deeply as we examine the reasons, we self-medicate. The track is another contender for my personal favorites from the album. “All You Got” offers more of an in your face take of the party life, by calling the bluff of someone who delivering an ultimatum.

Perhaps the thing that WCG does best is create songs that feel like part of your life. The turn of phrase, the inviting tone, both enriched by their own style of imperfections. These qualities make his music both unique and relatable and that separates William Clark Green from the vast majority of artists out there. “Best Friends” is an ode to those friends we all need in life, and the track feels both nostalgic and heartwarmingly true. “Love To Hate” did not have as much impact for me as other tracks on Baker Hotel, but it does offer a nice straightforward sound and direction and has a more commercial vibe than other tracks on this album, though Green has always transcended the need to offer conventional songs structured to meet radio demands. 

Disappointment is something we all face and often it comes from within as we fail to meet our own expectations. “Leave me Alone” is the conversations we have with ourselves in song form. 

We all have ghosts that plague our relationships and this album, named after a ghost of a building, begins with a track about life and vitality and ends with a track, “Me, Her, and You” about old relationships haunting the present. The arc was not lost on me and I think in a bigger sense the tone and shifting views of the world and ourselves is mirrored with our journey through life as we transition from blind eager enthusiasm to new realties after accruing a few battle scares. 

I enjoyed the symmetry of this dynamic in how it relates to the history of the actual Baker Motel, as well as William Clark Green’s unique sound and journey. The album feels like Texas, but not to the point of excluding those unfamiliar with the state or its ways. The album feels alive, even when, or maybe especially when, -- it dives into the things that haunt our minds and souls.  

Baker Hotel adds to the allure that is William Clark Green and is an album that I expect to go down as one of the year’s best. 


Baker Hotel is out today.

Travis Erwin is a native Texan now living in Southern California. Along with being a passionate fan of good music, Travis is an author or numerous books, including the forthcoming novel, THE GOOD FORTUNE OF BAD LUCK.  Available for preorder now, the novel releases May 17th. You can find Travis on TWITTER - @traviserwin or INSTAGRAM @travis_erwin_writer

Nov 8, 2016

Farce the Music Election Day!

Don't forget to vote today! And here are some random polls about country music. Write-ins go in the comments.

Biggest Douchebag?

Tyler Hubbard
Jason Aldean
Brantley Gilbert
Quotes to Know

Worst Song of 2016

Luke Bryan - Move
Chris Lane - Fix
Dierks Bentley - Somewhere on a Beach
Steven Tyler - Red, White, and You
Poll Maker

Country Music MVP 2016

Sturgill Simpson
Chris Stapleton
Dave Cobb
Brandy Clark

Worst Country Artist of 2016

Florida-Georgia Line
Chris Lane
Kelsea Ballerini
Old Dominion
Luke Bryan
Poll Maker

Best Red Dirt/Texas Artist 2016

Turnpike Troubadours
Wade Bowen
Flatland Cavalry
Reckless Kelly
William Clark Green
create quizzes

Worst Newcomer

Kane Brown
Chris Lane
Old Dominion
Kelsea Ballerini
Poll Maker

Entertainer of the Year

Jason Isbell
Chris Stapleton
Sturgill Simpson
Turnpike Troubadours
Poll Maker

Songwriter of the Year

Sturgill Simpson
Lori McKenna
Chris Stapleton
BJ Barham
Brandy Clark
Survey Maker

Mar 16, 2016

Live Review: William Clark Green - Hill Country BBQ - Washington D.C.

William Clark Green
By Matthew Martin

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. 

Apr 21, 2015

Album Review: William Clark Green - Ringling Road

By Jamie Berryhill

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.

Jul 1, 2013

Best Albums of 2013: Halfway Report

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

Album Review: William Clark Green - Rose Queen

William Clark Green has quickly ascended the Texas/Red Dirt scene in recent months, and for good reason. He has a warm, weary voice and amiable songs that bridge the gap between twangy barroom rock and dusty Americana. It's an approachable sound that has appeal to both casual listeners and folks like me, who want a little something deeper.

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.


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