Tuesday, April 23, 2013

REVIEW: Will Courtney - A Century Behind

Resident of New Mexico by way of Austin by way of California by way of Nashville, Will Courtney, of Austin band Brothers And Sisters, has released what has turned into my favorite country record of 2013. A Century Behind is the kind of album you will find yourself coming back to, and enjoying a little bit more each time. Courtney's voice is reminiscent of Neil Young or Doug Martsch, the music more along the lines of A.M.-era Wilco or Varnaline, with some gorgeous acoustic strumming, pedal steel and keyboards echoing throughout the seven songs.

Here's the title track - I hear echoes of "Wild Horses" in the intro of this one, and really enjoy the way he sings the chorus, sort of behind the beat and letting everything take its time and sink in:

He's a terrific singer - hard to believe that most of these songs were recorded live, and some in single takes. It doesn't feel fussed-over, but it's damn near perfect. The band on this record is Will Courtney on acoustic, electric and baritone guitars, piano and keyboards, Zander Schloss on 12-string guitar, electric guitar and bouzouki, Raymond Richards on upright bass, electric bass, electric guitar, dobro, pedal steel and vibrophone, Franck Fiser on drums, Tim Butterworth on accordion and Kaitlin Wolfberg on violin.

Here is "There's No Answer" - a beautiful song that is, for now, my favorite on the album. There's just the right amount of reverb on the vocals, and the way it slowly builds, through a sweetly sung chorus, with the keyboards quietly rising, until the drums and baritone guitar kick in about a minute in:

And you can download "There's No Answer" - click here.

On the acoustic side, showcasing his voice and quiet strumming, here's a cover of "I'd Have To Be Crazy" by Texas troubador Steven Fromholz:

If you're familiar with the tradition of Texas singer/songwriters, and the legends of California country rockers like the Burrito Brothers, you will have a sense of Courtney's style. And you ought not miss this record.

Will Courtney Facebook

Will Courtney on Reverb Nation

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