Reviewed by Jeffrey B. Remz
illiam Clark Green made it clear where he stood, telling the small crowd of perhaps 35 people, "We're a rock and roll band" as he was introducing a song.
That was only partially true for the Texas-based singer, trying to increase his profile outside the Lone Star State with a quick northeastern and Midwest foray like this - his first time in Beantown.
At the same time that the likable Green is touting rock, he also was quick to mention that he hails from Lubbock, informing the crowd that it was the hometown of Buddy Holly, Waylon Jennings and Mac Davis.
Holly and Jennings weren't straightforward country performers either. Green steered more towards their left-of-center brand than rock as the guitar riffs and melodies indicated.
Last year's "Ringling Road," Green's strong fourth release (great packaging by the way from a top-shelf designer) found Green, thanks in part to his slightly roughed up voice, steering between rock and country, more like rootsy. More importantly, the disc continued to show his keen songwriting skills, following in the long line of worthy Texas writers.
Green's been at this awhile, releasing his debut in 2008. So, starting with "Next Big Thing" about slogging it out on the road was fitting. It's a song of perseverance, something Green knows about. "Lookin back now its been about 7 years/Since i heard the world callin and I disappeared/Sold a few records played a few shows/Sometimes man I just don't know why they keep telling me/You're the next big thing. What's that mean."
A two-song Green solo stint with acoustic guitar stood out with the emphasis on his voice, which recalls Jason Isbell a bit. Green scored with "If You Asked Me To," a ballad, which he said the last song he wrote, and a cover of Chris Knight's "Enough Rope," about teen pregnancy and its consequences. Green underscored his music cred simply by covering Knight, a most worthy writer.
Green changed it up sufficiently on the musical spectrum. One of Green's best songs was the cute, lighter "She Likes the Beatles" about her love for the Fab Four and his for the Stones.
In one of his best moves, Green went from one of his songs, "Hangin' Around" seamlessly segueing into several stanzas of Tom Petty's "Won't Back Down" before returning to "Hangin' Around."
Green may not have it exactly right in branding his music. But these days, no musician wants to be pigeon-holed. After all, variety seems to rule. Rock? Country? Roots? All of them fit Green. Who knows if Green will be the "next big thing," but with a good outing like this and worthy songs, Green is doing it his way, and he's doing a pretty darn good job.