Alex Williams “Waging Peace”

Lightning Rod Records, 2022

Old-school and comfortably-fitting.

artwork for Alex Williams album 'Waging Peace'After succumbing to the temptations of the “rockstar” lifestyle following the release of his debut album in 2017, Alex Williams returns, having laid down his weapons of self-destruction. His mission is to find peace. Having grown professionally and personally in the intervening years, Williams admits “before I made my first record, I had not toured. I had no road band and a very slim amount of experience in the studio. I’m very glad I waited 5 years to make another record because it’s given me time to really find my voice as a songwriter, experience life on the road and all the pain and joy that has come my way in more ways than one”.

Waging Peace‘ is an autobiographical collection of 12 songs throughout which Williams shares a previously unseen side of his life and his personal battle between good and evil. The title track was chosen “because it seemed like the centerpiece for this whole project as far as the subject matter goes”.

Opening with the first single to be released from the album, ‘No Reservations‘, is electric guitar-driven with flavours of Dire Straits in which Williams sets out with attitude playing, as depicted in the accompanying video, to a gang of bikers. By contrast, the very countrified ‘Old Before My Time‘ is a pacey hoedown featuring awesome instrumental parts.

Rock Bottom‘ slows the pace with its introspective lines: “Well I don’t know why the darkest roads are the easy ones to follow, Came so close to Rock Bottom but my rock’s always been you“. Together with an extended and compelling outro, this is a lovely song.

Fire‘ is a great rock song. ‘Higher Road‘ is perhaps a telling account of the path of self-destruction Williams once walked, with an acceptance of where he has been and how far he has come.

The powerful sound of the title track, ‘Waging Peace‘ continues Williams’ journey to serenity with the poignant and somewhat timeless lyric:
If I could start a war by only waging peace, I’d load my gun with all the love that any man would need“.

Both ‘Conspiracy‘ and ‘The Best Thing‘ are very much in the country vein. Whilst ‘Double Nickel‘ and ‘Confession‘ both showcase the country-rock wordsmith in Williams. ‘The Struggle‘ can be summed up by the line: “cause ain’t it all about the struggle that makes it worth it when it’s done” – surely a further indication of Williams’ new-found self-awareness. The album closes out with a slow-burning, further introspective in ‘The Vice‘.

Produced by Ben Fowler with Williams on vocals, and electric and acoustic guitars, the album also features Noah Thomasson on lead guitar, Ryan Fox on bass guitar, and Coty Leffingwell on drums. These core players are more than ably joined by a host of additional musicians and harmony vocalists, all contributing to this somewhat old-school, comfortably-fitting, album.

7/10
7/10

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