The young man from Milwaukee catalogues his music as "gothic country" and he mentions the work of Johnny Cash as one of his most important influences. And that´s what we will know for sure: You'd think he were his younger brother on this album of thirteen songs. But Williams is on his own, too. He is the brain behind the lyrics and the music; he plays all the instrumental parts, is responsible for the recording and production and prints out the cd's and album covers by himself. And the result of all this solitary work? A dark, spooky work from a true storyteller.
The tone is directly set in the opening track, "You Ain´t Exempt," and little by little, Williams' country-noir becomes more and more thrilling. He narrates about death, wandering ghosts and the dark side of love and accompanies himself soberly on guitar or banjo. His desolate timbre makes you think of, as said before the Man in Black, but also comparisons with Leonard Cohen and 16 Horsepower cropped up.
Not all of the songs are strong and Williams´ voice surely could use some eloquence, but overall, Built with Bones is a powerful album from a youthful troubadour with a partiality for the dark side of life.
* * * 1/2 (out of five)
- Machiel Coehorst (translated by Monique), Alt.Country