William Clark Green – Baker Hotel
Well, one thing’s for certain Texas songwriter William Clark Green’s country music has energy, decisive musicality & won’t put you to sleep. He’s been at this for 15 years & the opening track “Feel Alive,” is just that – alive.
While Green may not have a signature vocal his singing does come from an attractive well-cultivated strong one. Becoming George Strait, Elvis, or Charlie Rich will take time. But Green has the songs – that’s half the battle & many great singers don’t.
Green found a niche of his own in how he projects his tunes. Not entirely original, but intriguing how he shapes the stories that populate his songs. His music has an abundance of chiming guitars, sharp snare beats, and clever turns of phrases & arrangements. All likable.
His first LP in 4 years, was named after an abandoned Mineral Wells, Texas hotel built in the 1920s. The hotel has been boarded up since 1972 & yet, still it stands hiding many stories. Green’s 13-cut, 6th LP Baker Hotel (Dropped March 25-Bill Grease Records) is filled with delicious cuts dipped in roots rock, Western balladry, swampy country, old-fashion Southern rock, all spliced & diced with wonderful tales.
Though Green has a savoring style nothing’s contrived, novelty-oriented, or cliched. He’s careful with his drama & humor. The title track is riveting & swampy in a J.J. Cale manner. Deep chorus vocals, snappy with a pinch of the dark.
Percussion keeps the tune lively with crisp guitar lines that wind thru like cobwebs wrapped around your face. Green carves out a pulsating tale with a minimal of special sound effects.
I’d say my only criticism is that many song titles are just too simple & typical. The lyrics have many clever lines. Come up with some clever titles that will entice a listener to want to tune in. For instance: The gripping tune “Getting Drunk,” says nothing that hasn’t been said before in country music. The lyric states “I’m Getting Good At Getting Drunk.” That’s different, those 6 words — that’s enticing. It isn’t about being drunk as the title suggests – but being good at it. Because you’ve been there so many times before. Many listeners could relate to that title, some will want to know why you’re good at getting drunk. Could become a barroom standard.
The songs are assertive & well-played (“Love to Hate” is excellent, “Leave Me Alone” is bright with mandolin mindful of the duo Lowen & Navarro). The band is often fiery & aggressive. Green shines best on the more rollicking tunes. But “All You Got,” is the hook line & sinker. Quite catchy, dynamic & sung with lots of fervor. This is a beautifully constructed album.
Both color photos are courtesy of Zack Knudsen. CD available @ https://www.williamclarkgreen.com/