|All Artists: Sons of Bill|
Title: One Town Away
Members Wishing: 3
Total Copies: 0
Label: Thirty Tigers
Original Release Date: 1/1/2009
Re-Release Date: 6/23/2009
Genres: Pop, Rock
Number of Discs: 1
SwapaCD Credits: 1
|Sons of Bill|
One Town Away
Genres: Pop, Rock
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Continued excellence from "the cure for the common band"
Dustin Williamson | Harrisonburg, VA | 07/10/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"I first ran into Sons of Bill years ago at a show in a little bar in Harrisonburg, Virginia, and I was hooked immediately. For someone who doesn't like much of the new music I hear, I was blown away by the originality and sound of the genre-defying band out of Charlottesville, Virginia.
I've been fortunate enough to catch SoB about seven or eight times, and they consistently deliver a fantastic performance, no matter the venue. This new album finds them going a slightly different direction than the excellent "A Far Cry From Freedom." A little darker and more mature than their first release, "One Town Away" shows the elements of an already tight group refining their talents. I'd like to say a few words about a couple of the tunes here, but make no mistake: I could go on about every last track on the disc.
I was stoked to hear "Never Saw It Comin'" finally pressed to an album. I've always found the lyrics to be powerful live, and the recording doesn't disappoint. James, Sam, Abe, Seth, and Brian sound just like what they are: five guys who can blow the doors out of any room you stick 'em in. I enjoy being told a story from time to time, even if the tale doesn't have a happy ending, and you can damn near reach out and feel the blood on this one.
Built on "the dirt underneath the methadone and concrete," the opening track "Joey's Arm" does what a whole lot of country songs are unable (or unwilling) to do: it paints a picture of a little slice of the South, without covering the warts. This was the first of several songs I heard on the disc that I hadn't heard live, and they all stand up well in the SoB catalog.
"Rock and Roll" is just a rollickin' good time, and makes a pretty accurate statement about the band. You'll immediately get the sense of how good a time these boys are having when they play together out of this track, and that's a rare thing to capture in a studio. And you just can't pigeonhole this band to any one sound, unless alt-country-punk-roots-honkytonk-metal-americana-blues-rock went and became a category when I wasn't looking.
Finally, I can't say enough about "Charleston." You'll hear a lot of rocking out of Sons of Bill on this album, but they also show a bit of a poignant side with this reflection on lost love and just what the hell one has to do to try and get around it. The pedal steel by Greg Leisz is simply fantastic and really makes something special out of an already great song.
I've listened a lot of alt-country-ish music in my life, from older acts like Steve Earle, John Prine, and Robert Earl Keen; childhood favorites like Uncle Tupelo, Whiskeytown, and Old '97s; to more recent offerings like the Drive-By Truckers, Reckless Kelly, and Lucero, and I truly think that Sons of Bill embodies what is special about all these bands. They all combine intelligent lyrics, extraordinary musical talent, and the ability to take the simple things in life and make them compelling. Sons of Bill is a great example of this talent, and "One Town Away" is really a must-buy for both the person who already loves the sound, and the person who hasn't been introduced to it yet.
Pick up a copy. Trust me, you won't be disappointed. And chances are, you'll be ordering the first album before you've finished listening to "One Town Away.""
`Rebel' Rod's - From Under the Basement - Sons of Bill - One
'Rebel' Rod Ames | Ingram, Tx | 07/05/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"When I checked the mail today I was surprised to find an inconspicuous white envelope containing Sons of Bill's new CD One Town Away (Gray Fox Records). I was even more surprised when I put it in the CD player and listened to it. `Where had this band been hiding?" I thought to myself. I hadn't heard some good ole Southern Rock in a long long time. That is, good ole Southern Rock that didn't sound like they were trying to sound like Lynard Skynard or The Allman Brothers Band. Sons of Bill possess their very own unique sound.
I don't believe there is a soul in the band over the age of 28. That tells my they've had some strong influence in the world of music. And as it turns out, after reading their bio they sent along with their CD, there is; From their Father, Bill Wilson who happens to be a professor of theology (and an expert on the Southern Agrarian movement) at the University of Virginia. He must've also listened to some great music while his three son's James, Sam, and Abe Wilson were growing up. It would sure seem that way when you listen to their new record, One Town Away. There are mentions of artists like Hank Williams, and Towns Van Zandt in their lyrics. I would be willing to lay you odds; the elder Wilson possesses recordings by these two artists along with Kris Kristofferson and Johnny Cash. I'm really just speculating here but I bet I'm right.
James Wilson, the youngest of the Wilson Brothers, pens most of the songs and wrote my personal favorite on the record, Going Home. The song starts out with a profound bass beat that leads us into beautifully played lap steel with interludes of electric piano. It all comes together with James Wilson on vocals. It's not quite as rough. This is not meant as an insult to Steve Earle. I especially love the second verse to the song- I've traveled 900 miles and got 100 more to go/I'm searching for the steel guitar on AM radio/ I can smell the jasmine and honeysuckle on the vine/I got that old familiar feeling rolling south down 29. It's a simple tune both musically and lyrically but captures that southern feel perfectly. You know you've captured the southern experience when you can work in steel-guitar, AM radio, jasmine, honeysuckle, and "rolling south" all in one verse. Well done.
The very next tune is Never Saw It Coming, penned by Seth Green (bass) and James Wilson, and is a sharp contrast to the strong southern influences of the previous tune. It's a tragic tale of two kids, Frank and Johnny, who for sixteen long years were bullied and "kicked around and laughed at in the gym". Until one day they explode onto the scene, with guns loaded blowing away their adversaries. An interesting facet to the lyrics; "you could have been the one who took the bullet, could have been the one that held the gun." I couldn't help but think of Virginia Tech, or Columbine while listening to this song. I love songs that provoke us into thought and this song does that with some powerful lyrics. Sam Wilson plays lap steel on the song that lies just beyond in the background of some great lead guitar played by James. It adds to the drama and the tragic nature of the song.
The album is expertly produced by Jim Scott who has worked with artists such as Wilco, Whiskeytown, and Tom Petty to name a few. James said, "We Just kind of took a wild shot. We're committed to staying away from the big labels, and so we saved our pennies from playing frat parties and stuff, and we just sent him our demos. He called us up, and said, `I'm going to produce the new Wilco album, but I got three weeks. Can you get out to California?' And so we got on a plane. It was really pretty simple." The happening may have been simple but rest assured there is nothing simple about this record. It's absolutely gorgeous to listen to both musically and lyrically. It's poetry at its best set to some beautiful music.
You need to plan on hearing a lot more from Sons of Bill in the future. These guys are just getting started.
Stop wasting your time and plop down the fourteen or fifteen bucks and buy One Town Away today!
Sons of Bill are what all Country should be
Daniel R. Strong | Berkeley, CA | 07/11/2009
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Sons of Bill are the best country band in America. High praise, but well deserved. They could keep company with contemporaries including Drive-by Truckers, Recless Kelly, and Lucero. But they do one thing even better than any of those bands: straight-up, down-home, classic country sound.
Sometimes I fear that country is dead. Fans of the classic southern sound are generally forced to settle for overproduced Texas crap like Tim McGraw, Tobey Keith, or--god help us--Rascall Flats, or else accept the new "modern" alt-country spin-offs. As Sons of Bill say in their superb bonus track (unfortunately only available through iTunes), "He says he don't like country but he likes 'Americana, twang-rock, post-punk, atmospheric indie rock and roll.'" Well I've had more than enough of that. It's time for a band that reminds us of what country was, what it should be, and what it can be again. That band is Sons of Bill. Welcome to the scene."