REVIEW: Justin Clyde Williams Explores Classic Country Sounds on ‘Preamble’


If you’re a fan of music, you know whose music recommendations you can trust, and you go with those recommendations. Well, if your friend were to recommend Preamble, the new EP from Justin Clyde Williams, you would do well to go with that recommendation – particularly if classic country is in your wheelhouse.

The EP opens with “Signin’ on that Line”, a honky-tonk song about wanting to stay on the straight and narrow, but drinking gets in the way, and ultimately leads to divorce. The bass line is sure to get you moving, while the guitar brings to mind the honky-tonk heroes of days gone by.

Lots of songs have been written about regrettable drinking. With that in mind, it’s a challenge to bring anything new to such a familiar theme. Williams voices plenty of regret to a situation where the narrator finds himself closing down a bar every night for a week. He damns a number of things including the Cuervo bottle, and adds, “I’ll be damned when it’s gone.” Due to the tempo and the spare instrumentation, you can’t help but feel the ache in this song.

If spare instrumentation is something you enjoy, “Wounds” is a song you’ll likely enjoy. The instrumentation is beautiful, but minimal. It features just guitar, fiddle, vocals, and a beat that is so muted as to be barely noticeable for most of the song. Again the ache in his voice is conveyed – particularly when he sings, “I’m the wound that time won’t heal.”

The EP closes with a cover of “Pancho and Lefty” that remains pretty true to the original. When you cover such a classic song, you probably have to think that you just won’t do it any injustice. Even if you’re a devoted fan of the original, you have to acknowledge that Williams does fine job with it.

Williams shows not only that he is a good songwriter, but also that he is pretty adept at setting the tone for a song. He understands how to use tempo and tone to make a song to give it greater impact. Preamble was released on May 3 and is available everywhere now. Order your copy here.

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