Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Hanx.net review (Belgium)

Christian Williams is a song man. He loves them. It doesn't matter whether he writes them himself (all on Built with Bones) or not (For my Mind, It was Flying, his first album from 2006, contains some covers).

He never overdoes his songs. A banjo and an old Martin - that's what he works with. And how does that sound when you are the owner of a rusty baritone? The JCS is your answer: Johnny Cash Syndrome. But why doesn't anyone think of Chris Isaak (Kingman), and why do you never read the names of William Elliott Whitmore and Nathan Wade as comparisons? They are surely kindred spirits.

There is a lot of movement in the songs of Christian Williams, in a figurative sense. The man from Milwaukee, WI who recently moved to Lawrence, KS lets his protagonists walk through the woods (dark naturally), through the saloon, over a gravel road, through hallways and so on. Death and the devil are in charge here. Williams has great admiration for The Handsome Family as well as Dock Boggs but that is something you won't hear right away.

Williams has certainly made a nice record with Built with Bones, but if he wants to go further in music, he'll have to make a choice. Either maintain the same canvas but write better songs (now, they are too much alike) or write the same songs and fight the bareness with stronger arrangements.
* * 1/2 (out of five)

- Wim Boluijt, Hanx.net

NineBullets.net review

Christian Williams’ second cd, Built With Bones, is labeled as Gothic Country. Gothic country it may be, but it’s not as evil as Those Poor Bastards or as apocalyptic as Sons of Perdition. No, Built With Bones is much more subtle. The lyrics sheet reads more like short stories than songs, and Christian’s almost deadpan baritone delivery, while sounding eerily similar to that of Gil Landry, fits the mood of the songs perfectly. Matter of fact, every bit of the minimal backing instrumentation seems to have been put in the mix deliberately to help build a mood, a mood that does fit perfectly with the sounds of The Sons of Perdition.

Christian Williams wrote all the words, played all the music, recorded and mixed the entirety of Built With Bones in his bedroom studio. If you like your country tales in the shade of death, adultery, murder, temptation and good vs. evil, all told without apology, then Built With Bones is right up your alley.