William Wallace

REVIEW: William Wallace “Lighthouse Keeper”


William Wallace – Lighthouse Keeper

The cover of William Wallace’s debut full-length album Lighthouse Keeper is reminiscent of Vincent Van Gogh’s Starry Night if it was painted by a cowboy poet at dusk somewhere in America. The artwork captures the introspective tone of the album while still looking outward to the horizon with a tactful nostalgia and a glimmer of hope for the future.

The songs on this album are beautifully reserved with a focus on telling tales that are interesting and intoxicatingly familiar while leaving the listener wanting to hear another story, like a child listening to their grandfather at bedtime. Every instrument, lyric, cadence, and vocal are like bricks in a 19th century house that was built in just the right way for a lasting homestead that becomes more appreciated as time goes on. This is no surprise considering that this Austin native has an incredible band for this album featuring Jon Greene, Mark Hallman, Joshua Hoag, Warren Hood, Stefano Intelisano, Shawnee Kilgore, Andre Moran, and Kris Nelson. Each musician is like the perfect tradesperson building their part of an American homestead that will become a historical landmark with the graceful passage of time.

Albums are frequently the prelude to a tour. This can be frustrating to the musicians because songs from the album (that has already been released) can evolve and grow into something new while you’re on tour, like a child growing up. The tremendous feature of this thoughtful album is that Wallace has played these songs for years before committing them to the record and it shows. The songs are elegantly structured and provide an ease of listening which demonstrates that these songs were given time to mature before recording.

The lyrical depth of this album is impressive. Phrases such as, “Hours spent beside myself hold true to all these lies, until my name is forgotten by the continents and tides,” from the song, The Stars My Destination. Or, the song Eveline, “Eveline is the sound that tears a hole across the blue uncertain sky, she’s a metronome of thunder sounded back and forth to keep the time”. Another exquisite example from the song Ida is, “Those sad words of tongue and pen, erased and changed, and changed again.”

William Wallace writes with the style of a wise old sage who is pondering deep questions and addressing the gray areas of life by adding color and context with the perfect patina. Elements of folk, rock, and country help Wallace tell his distinctively American stories with a reverence for history. He references Rikers Island, Amelia Earhart, Harpo Marx, searching for gold, big skies, traversing oceans, spirits (ghosts and libations), the passage of time, and pictures of women loved and lost. All these topics are effortlessly woven into a fabric that seems as natural as a mountain stream.

Wallace uses sonic landscapes to paint pictures that can be tragically beautiful and superbly alluring without a hint of pretention. The music from artists like Willam Wallace just feels honest with that intangible quality that you just can’t put your finger on, but you know it’s there because you can feel it in your bones. This album has the right mixture of everything needed for a uniquely charming musical experience.

Lighthouse Keeper releases on August 1st, 2023. It was recorded by Andre Moran at The Congress House Studio in Austin; mixed by Andre Moran at Cedar Creek Studio in Austin;
and mastered by Mark Hallman.

Musicians on the album are William Wallace on acoustic and electric guitar and vocals; Jon Greene on drums and talking drum; Kris Nelson on bass and background vocals;  Stefano Intelisano on piano , Wurlitzer and Hammond B3;  Shawnee Kilgore on vocals and backing vocals; Joshua Hoag on upright bass;  Mark Hallman on accordion, mandola and hammond B3; and Warren Hood on octave violin and fiddle.

Acoustic Guitar, Vocal: WW
Upright Bass: Joshua Hoag
Electric Guitar: Andre Moran

Acoustic and Electric Guitars, Vocal: WW
Bass, Background Vocals: Kris Nelson
Drums: Jon Greene
Hammond B3: Stefano Intelisano

The Space Between Our Hearts
Acoustic Guitar, Vocal: WW
Upright Bass: Joshua Hoag
Vocal: Shawnee Kilgore

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