William Clark Green
Live at Gruene Hall
Reviewed by Doug Freeman, Fri., Nov. 25, 2016
William Clark Green strikes while the iron's hot. Capitalizing on the Top 20 country charts success of last year's fourth LP Ringling Road, the rising Texas kicker doubles down with a 2-CD performance recorded at historic New Braunfels honky-tonk Gruene Hall. WCG delivers best live, the raucous crowd feeding his backing quartet, which roars a genuine guitar ruckus. "Next Big Thing" sets the stage as "Hanging Around" slides into Tom Petty's "Won't Back Down." The bandleader's hallmark humbleness comes through in both the songs and banter, as he rips through favorites "Creek Don't Rise" and "Rose Queen" even as the rough-twanged tenderness of duet "Final This Time" with Dani Flowers changes pace. Disc 2 barrels through the bigger hits, with "Tonight" and "Sympathy" leading into an emotional tribute to late Cheatham Street Warehouse owner Kent Finlay with "Still Think About You." "Wishing Well" gets a full 10-minute rock-out and nearly nine go to medley/sing-along "She Likes the Beatles." Jack Ingram helps encore with an acoustic "Goodnight Moon." Green on Gruene makes gold.