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Harold Whit Williams

The Daily Worker Songbook (Bones and Dreams)

Reviewed by Greg Beets, Fri., Sept. 7, 2012

Texas Platters

Harold Whit Williams

The Daily Worker Songbook

Despite its title, the debut album from Cotton Mather guitarist Whit Williams skips the soapbox in favor of earnest storytelling. Eschewing his group's power pop for a largely acoustic sound rooted in folk, blues, and country, the Alabama-bred troubadour sings with a plaintive resolve matching the subject matter, but it's Williams' highly evocative arrangements that close the deal. "Winston County Coal Miner" harkens back to traditional mining songs through the lens of brow-furrowing alienation, while "Write If You Get Work" addresses the loss of self-worth often accompanying unemployment. After punching out, Williams goes deep into a haze of earthly Southern nostalgia on "Indian Summer Detour" before taking a teenage cruise through a dying town on "The Boulevard Became a Drag." Small stakes, but a victory nonetheless.

***

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