William Clark Green
Ringling Road (Bill Grease Records)
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., June 19, 2015
Launched with tongue-in-cheek autobiography "Next Big Thing," a reality check on the praise heaped atop 2013's third LP Rose Queen, follow-up Ringling Road demonstrates a clear sense of where it's headed. William Clark Green aims squarely for mainstream Texas country with big guitars and tight melodies, from small town ode "Sticks and Stones" to the licking fiddle of "Creek Don't Rise." The 28-year-old Flint native also shows off a narrative knack on the title track's twisted tale of the fabled Eastland circus stop. The Austin songwriter likewise showcases his emotional pull in duet with Dani Flowers on "Final This Time" and in the simple directness of "Hey Sarah," even if the album doesn't veer far from the Red Dirt radio playbook. Regionally, Green's made his stamp, but here he angles for broader breakout appeal, "Old Fashioned" and "Sympathy" ringing big choruses hoping to be heard in Nashville. Ringling Road lacks an overt hit for such impact, but William Clark Green inches ever closer.