William Clark Green is a Texas boy, through and through. Born in Flint, Texas, the 29 year old has cut his teeth on the Lone Star State's dusty roads, and his music is alive with references and tributes to the towns and cities that dot the vast Texas landscape.
After working his way up the Texas radio charts with his first two albums, Green started to see real traction with the release of“Rose Queen” in 2013. With a title inspired by the Texas Rose Festival in Tyler, TX, “Rose Queen” became the first of Green's albums to break out of the Texas radio charts and make its mark on with Billboard, where it peaked at number 34 on the US Country chart.
So when it came time to make this year's “Ringling Road,” Green and his band had some good lessons to build off of.
“(With) “Rose Queen” we had a really good product that we were proud of,” he said in an interview. “(With) Ringling Road, we kind of knew more going into it. We knew what we wanted to say and how, and we just kind of refined it. We’re pretty proud of it. We worked our asses off on it.”
The work has paid off, as “Ringling Road” has become Green's most successful album to date, topping out at number 18 on the US Country charts, and hitting number 1 on Billboard's Heatseekers chart. Reviews of the album have been just as strong, with many focusing on the album's fuller guitar sound. Indeed, “Ringling Road” feels much more guitar driven than anything Green has done in the past. And while that was ultimately a conscious decision, getting there took a little kismet.
“(Guitarist Steve Marcus) broke his arm a week before we went into the studio,” Green explained. “So half the album, it was all studio musicians. We’re booked at the studio. There was nothing we could really do, our hands were tied. I couldn’t afford to lose money on that. So when we went and recorded. Then Josh Serrato filled in for Steve while we were on the road.”
“By the time Steve came back, we liked Josh so much, we just signed him on too,” he continued. “Then we went and recorded the rest of the record, and kept the guitar player we had used in the studio too because we liked him so much. So those songs that are so humongous, that’s all three (guitarists). You’re listening, thinking 'Holy shit.' They killed it.”
“I’ve heard that a lot about “Rose Queen” being so well received,” he continued. “You’re almost freaking out. Every little detail on this record had to be better than “Rose Queen.” When we got the final mixes back, we listened to it and “Rose Queen” and we all thought we made a better record. The writing is better, the playing, my singing, the production, it’s just better.”
Green says that he has a habit of putting the song that means the most to him as the last track of the album. In this case, that falls to “I Still Think About You,” a song that he co-wrote with legendary Texas club owner and songwriter, Kent Finlay, shortly before Finaly passed away from cancer.
“I had the chorus to it, but I never had any luck getting anyone else to help out,” Green recalled. “Which I can respect. The song is pretty brash. Kent asked if I had anything and I showed him the chorus and told him nobody liked it. He pretty much wrote all the verses. Writing with him, it was such a joy.”
Originally appeared in Cityview on January 7, 2016