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Alex Williams

Better Than Myself – 2017 (Big Machine)

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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CDs by Alex Williams

If you don't mind a little salty language mixed into your country music, Alex Williams' "Better Than Myself" will hit your traditional country spot like a dart in the barroom bullseye. He sings with a wonderfully resonant voice that sometimes brings Waylon Jennings to mind. He also wrote - or helped to write - all 12 songs.

The title cut suggests Williams' songs present a better image of the man than the actual man does. It's an unusual opener, as the track's skillfully-picked acoustic guitar backing is much quieter than the rest of the album's mostly stomping country numbers. The track also features Mickey Raphael's distinctive harmonica fills. "Old Tattoo" is another rare quieter one, and features some memorable words. With it, Williams compares the slow healing of pain with the way a tattoo fades -- incrementally.

The rocking "Strange Days" finds Williams dropping an f-bomb, so don't expect to hear it - at least in its original version - on country radio. Another drinking song, "A Little Too Stoned," also has the singer using that word you can't say on network TV. It's also a track where Dan Dugmore's steel guitar shines. The funniest song is a fine drinking song. "A Week Without a Drink" finds Williams making promises he knows he'll never keep - if he goes a week without a drink. These include wrangling armadillos with a bullwhip, starting a polka band and wearing a dress. Not in this lifetime.

If you're okay with country songs that include language usually only heard in metal and alternative music, Williams will rock your jukebox like Metallica. It's good stuff, which comes with a warning.