While Nashville continues to produce mediocrity and bland artists, Texas continues to pump out quality music by real artists. Recent releases by Robert Earl Keen, Aaron Watson, Randy Rogers, and Wade Bowen have given us some of the best music of the year. Now, we can add Zane Williams to that list. With his newest release, Texas Like That, Zane Williams joins an already crowded field of top albums in 2015. Zane has an approach that is a great bridge between modern country music and the great music of the past.
Texas Like That has a great mix of love songs, story songs, and good ole fashioned jams. The first track “Feelin’ Free” is a great cruising song that leads right into the most commercial song of the album, “Throwback”. The song has an almost rap-like spoken delivery and a funky beat. The song champions the old-school approach to dating when men put their women up on a pedestal instead of treating them like a piece of meat. “Throwback” is the kind of song that could fit in with the mainstream crowd, but retain a certain cool factor that the ones with a keener ear could take a liking to. The album has a few more great upbeat moments, like “Just Getting’ Started”. The melody of the song is similar to “Getaway Truck” by Aaron Watson, but the song has a little more meat on the lyrics. “Here’s To You” is a nice tribute to fans of real music, and is easily the most sing-alongable track on the album. “Here’s To You” is going to be a big hit when performed live in a bar atmosphere, as it has an old school honkytonk sound and a mean fiddle. This is the most fun song on the album, and one of my personal favorites.
The album does a great job of telling stories and expressing feelings as well. “Love Is On Our Side” is a very well done love song that, like “Throwback”, could easily be a hit on mainstream radio. “Summer Rain” and “Kansas City Sunrise” both tell excellent stories and show off Zane’s songwriting prowess, but none do like “Jayton and Jill”. “Jayton and Jill” is the highlight of the album. It is an incredibly simple story song about a good ole boy and a preacher’s daughter who find an unlikely love. The simple melody and tried-and-true narrative make this one of the best songs from any artist in 2015. Somehow, we have gotten away from these songs that don’t say too much, they say just enough. “Jayton and Jill” is a modern classic. The album comes to close with “Texas Like That’, which is hardly surprising. The number one topic of discussion of artists from Texas is… Texas. That being said, this is a great tribute to the hardworking people and independent spirt of the Lone Star State. While some anthems may seem cheesy and pandering, “Texas Like That” comes across as earnest and appreciative. It’s a great way to close a great album.
Zane Williams is a new face to my radar, but after hearing this album, he looks to be a permanent fixture there. Texas Like That is a picture of the things that make country music so great: love, loss, stories, fiddle, and steel. This Texan has strung them all together to make a great listening experience. Be sure to check this one out, it has a little something for everyone.
Standout Tracks: "Jayton And Jill", "Here's To You", "Kansas City Sunrise", "Texas Like That", "Throwback", "Love Is On Our Side"
"Jayton and Jill"
"Here's To You"
"Kansas City Sunrise"
"Texas Like That"