Mark Crawford Williams
A couple of years ago Mark Crawford Williams released “Tryin’ Man” which he describes as a somewhat barebones acoustic americana LP. This record, however, got him the attention of the right people as he now releases his Nashville-based sophomore album called “Sing A Song”. Much like his debut, the album is filled with the sounds of historic American music with influences from the American folk, country and blues scenes.
You will immediately hear the bluesy twang on the title track. Williams has a solid vocal range and musically the song is a tight package that displays skill and insight. Much the same can be said for the modernday honkytonky Catch That Train, which is one of the most interesting tracks on the album. It’s old school country made current. It’s down to earth, like country should be in my eyes and it catches your ear. The rhythm and the tempo are perfect for Williams’ vocals and the songs pops.
The pace goes down on Lying Next To Me which is served by piano and shows a lot of restraint until it evolves in a jangly little country-pop tune with some jazzy undertones. It becomes cheeky and playful and while I really like this song I felt Williams’ vocal style favors the previous songs a little more than this one. Tryin’ Man has a classic vibe to it. Especially in the chorus, which has that big sound. On Skeeta Williams turns into a more playful sound again but this time it comes out better in my eyes. The vocals are a little fuller and the rhythm caters to his vocals more which makes this a really cool song. The saloon-y piano arrangement is an instant classic.
The Main Thing never really got going for me. It has a strong vocal performance and there’s a really good interaction between vocals and instrumentals but to me it lacks a certain tension or excitement that lifts it up a little further. The tension, however, is felt on I Don’t Run Anymore which really showcases the vocalist Mark Crawford Williams. You can hear the emotion seep through and it makes me think this song is one of the more personal on the album. The way it builds up in intensity and stays so sincere is really very impressive.
We’re in the home stretch of the album with the final two songs coming up. And Mark Crawford Williams finishes strong. One More Song brings together the influences from classic country and current country-pop in this powerballad. It’s very sincere and warm. Williams reminds me of John Denver a little bit on The Party Ain’t Over. The reflective countryfolk with a hopeful tone is both uplifiting and in its own way quite catchy.
“Sing A Song” suprised me. I grew up listening to a lot of country & western, folk and americana music and much in the vein of the artists I used to listen to as a kid, Mark Crawford Williams is able to present music in a way that is accessible to all audiences with down to earth themes, honest deliveries and clever arrangements. Nothing about these songs is fabricated or too ornate. I don’t know if “Sing A Song” will reach a wide audience but I believe it should. Williams understands the tradition of country music and has the soul of a folk troubadour which makes that he can really get his songs and stories across. I’m hoping you will give this record a try. It may not be the most revolutionary album of the year but it is definitely one of the most pleasant ones.