Haven’t heard of Alex Williams yet? Well, be sure to put him on your must-listens list if you enjoy authentic country. His debut album titled Better Than Myself was released yesterday, and it’s definitely on the outlaw country spectrum, complete with heavy twang and exceptional storytelling. Rolling Stone Country listed Williams as one of their “26 Best Things We Saw” at the 2017 CMA Music Festival, and he’s already been out on the road with the likes of Lynyrd Skynyrd and Hank Williams, Jr.
The album, produced by Julian Raymond (Big Machine Label Group), is an impressive debut project, especially with Williams having a hand in writing each of the 12 tracks. Williams’ heavy baritone vocals are backed by a badass group of musicians, including: drummer Victor Indrizzo (Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris), keyboard player Matt Rollings (Lyle Lovett, Mark Knopfler), bassist Joeie Canaday (Leann Rimes, Steven Curtis Chapman), pedal steel player Dan Dugmore (James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt), and guitarists Tom Bukovac (Don Henley, Stevie Nicks) and J.T. Corenflos (Dolly Parton, Alan Jackson). In addition, it was recorded live and tracked in only two days – it’s that type of passion and confidence in his craft that shines in each of the tracks.
The first two releases off Better Than Myself, “More Than Survival” and “A Little Too Stoned,” were great previews of what the album has to offer. Other standout tracks include “Old Tattoo,” a heartfelt ballad that reminisces about time spent with a lost loved one. On “Pay No Mind,” heavy finger-picking combines with insightful lyrics: “This world is full of schemers stealin’ souls and cuttin’ deals / They put up all them billboard signs that tell me hell is real, but I pay no mind, no my soul is fine.” ” Can’t Get Enough Of You” will surely have crowds singing along at live shows, and “Freak Flag” offers advice on being yourself regardless of what others deem acceptable.
Perhaps the title track “Better Than Myself” best summarizes the vibe of the album, with Williams singing, “Truth be told in every note I play / Truth be told I don’t care what you say.”
Track Listing for Better Than Myself
1. “Better Than Myself” (Alex Williams, Greg Becker)
2. “Hellbent Hallelujah” (Williams, Neal Coty, Jimmy Melton)
3. “More Than Survival” (Williams, Marshall Altman)
4. “Freak Flag” (Williams, Altman)
5. “Week Without A Drink” (Williams, Brandon Kinney, Jimmy Yeary)
6. “A Little Too Stoned” (Williams, Becker)
7. “Old Tattoo” (Williams)
8. “Strange Days” (Williams, Altman)
9. “Pay No Mind” (Williams, Becker)
10. “Can’t Get Enough Of You” (Williams, Altman)
11. “Few Short Miles (Bobby’s Song)” (Williams)
12. “Last Cross” (Williams, Becker)