Recording an album in a town that has been known for its songwriting, William Clark Green went back to Cheatham Street and crafted a perfect songwriter’s record: Stripped down with just enough storytelling to let you into the backstories of the songs. Going back through the catalog of songs that have been released, from Dangerous Man to Hebert island, Green drops some gems within the standards that have become commonplace during his live shows.
Starting the record out with a rendition of Hebert Island, the title track of his most recent project, it has a swampier feel than the original album cut. That feel is better explained within the next track, Introducing The Band. Green went back to his school days enlisting help from high school classmate Jody Dale Bartula (Cody Johnson Band) on fiddle and college roommate Austin Davis (Josh Abbott Band) on banjo. The talents of these two players add elements that complement the band’s sound perfectly.
Disk one closes out with some instant classic cuts from Hebert Island. Cowrites such as “She Loves Horses”, written with Trent Willmon and Jay Clementi, as well as “Poor,” written with Brandon Adams and Dalton Domino, get added depth with the multi-part harmonies. But as he ends the first half of the record, This Is Us tears a little deeper. The raw emotion during the ups and downs of a relationship hit a little harder. Relating to a song has never been easier and more difficult at the same time. On the second disk, Will takes us on a journey through some of his deeper album cuts not featured on his first live album. Take Me Away and the Brandon Adams co-write Remedy, both from Rose Queen, and Sweet Amy from Dangerous Man all showcase his superior songwriting ability.
Still Think About You is one of the more cathartic songs on the album. The last song that Green wrote with Kent Finlay, his songwriting mentor and the former owner of Cheatham Street, means more to him than most others. Having written it in Steamboat Springs, at MusicFest, they crafted this masterpiece in 4 hours. As a further tribute to Kent, Charlie Stout makes an appearance and he and Green get a little “political” and echo a stance that Finlay had: beans do not belong in chili. The Chili Song, written on the famed 806 Songwriter Retreat, was a product of frustration while writing another song that neither Green nor Stout were happy with.
Closing the record with the band’s biggest song to date is no surprise. Highlighting both Steven Marcus joining the band as well as former drummer Jay Saldana and his ex-girlfriend inspiring the track, the Intro to She Likes The Beatles is the perfect comic relief and lighthearted storytelling that puts a bow on a perfect record. Live albums aren’t for everyone, but this one is. Sonically as crisp as a studio record, William Clark Green’s Live At Cheatham Street Warehouse easily vaults into top 10 consideration.
As for our pick of this record, the often forgotten Drowning gets this distinction. Heralded by William as one of his top 5 favorite writes, the track starts off with guitars and fiddle with banjo filling the room with a somber tone. The lyrics need no explanation and speak for themselves:
“Listen to my anger And I’ll listen to your lies
There’s no point in depositions
Or half-hearted goodbyes
You can sweep the floor with everything
That’s left inside my heart
As I stumble down a drunken path
Of depression and scars”