Williams Riley - Williams Riley
By: Matt Bjorke
With 12 impressive tracks, Williams Riley proves that you don't have to be affiliated with a big or mid-sized Nashville label in order to produce great, radio-ready Country music. In fact, very few new artists in any genre could get rock icon Slash to record a track on their record yet that's exactly what happened to Williams Riley. Slash isn't the only well-known guest on the record as Bryan White and Edwin McCain also lend their talents to the band's self-titled release. With "I'm Still Me" (watch video) the band has managed to not only record a great tune, co-written by guitarist Derek George, Bryan White and Chuck Jones, but has managed to create something that sticks with you for days. The lyrics tell the story of a man who, while getting older and not as mobile as he used to be, proclaims that he's still able to do most of the things he used to do. It's a great piece of mature Country music, the type that radio airwaves used to be filled with,
The second track is the infectious "Makes Me Go La La." Co-written by Derek George, Danny Myrick and Bart Allmand, the song has a radio-ready sound that is not only fun to listen to but you might just find yourself singing along to the lyrics, something that happens quite a bit throughout the rest of the album. The majority of the album discusses matters of the heart and there are quite a few standout tracks like the mid-tempo ballad "Because You Love Me." Written by George and band founder/lead vocalist Steve Williams, the song features some fine fiddle and steel work backing up the kind of lyric all women want to hear. Perhaps one of the best written tracks on the record is Williams' self-penned "Two Kinds Of Love." It discusses a woman who uses the love and security of her marriage to mask her cheating ways. It's a track that finds Williams singing to this woman in a "been there, done that" mentality.
South Carolina's Spencer Rush wrote two tracks on the record, "How Many Ways" and "Good Times." "Ways" has a R&B-like sound anchoring the song while "Good Times" is a sweet love song that I can envision being played at many weddings in the future with lyrics like "I promise I will always love you, through the good times and the bad." The previously mentioned guest appearances of Edwin McCain and Slash happen on the final two tracks on this self-titled album. The Edwin McCain-assisted, Steve Williams-penned "Better Man" (watch video)is a smoky, soul-filled ballad that definitely recalls McCain's folk-rock while Slash's unmistakable guitar playing is instantly showcased on the bluesy "Road And Me," which Williams wrote. It's a fun song that finds Williams singing about living a carefree life with no baggage or things to tie him down. Instead the character in the song likes to live life on the road. It's a great way to end a remarkably consistent album on a high note. Steve Williams possesses a strong voice that guides the skillfully played tunes. Along with Guitarist Derek George and Steve Williams, the band is rounded out by drummer Nick Buda, bassist David Guidry, multi-instrumentalist Joe Rogers and guitarist Charlie "Riley" Hutto.
There will be people out there who will not even give Williams Riley a chance due to them being on the independent Golden Music label but to do so would be a shame because they'd be missing out on a well-crafted album of contemporary country music.
If you wish to purchase this album, you can buy it from Williams Riley in mp3 form at Amazon or eMusic or in CD form at their MySpace page (Click here).