REVIEW: Charlie Worsham – ‘Beginning Of Things’

LifeInASong_UK

In August 2013, we stumbled across an album titled ‘Rubberband’ from some guy called Charlie Worsham. Little did we know at the time that a few years down the line, he would be a firm favourite amongst UK country fans and making regular appearances at C2C. ‘Rubberband’ was one of those albums that didn’t set the world alight commercially, but everybody who heard it knew how special it was. It’s still an album I play regularly and it still sounds just as good. Charlie invented his own distinct style of country music, a refreshing alternative to the bro-country craze that was so prevalent at the time. Unbelievable musicianship, raw talent and immense song writing.

Tomorrow (April 21st), after nearly a four-year wait, Charlie returns with his much-anticipated sophomore album ‘The Beginning Of Things’. A 13-track project that, on the whole, offers a sound and style sonically different to the ‘Rubberband’ album, whilst still maintaining that familiar Charlie Worsham charm and character. The short and quirky introduction ‘Pants’ morphs into ‘Please People Please’, which has become a mainstay in Charlie’s live shows. Right from the off, you can sense a change in direction with the electric guitars and rocky edge, then the powerful, super-catchy chorus kicks in. It’s bold, in-your-face and a killer start to the album.

‘Southern By The Grace Of God’ is as country as it gets. Dominated by an infectious acoustic guitar full of hooks, it’s an ode to Charlie’s southern upbringing – “country is as country does and look here cos you can’t out-country me”. Co-written with Luke Dick and hit-making maestro Shane McAnally, this is one of the early stand-outs on the album and is a lesson in country composition; the instrumental towards the end is full of grit, attitude and power. But it isn’t long before Charlie goes all ‘experimental’ on us again with ‘Call You Up’, a Hall & Oates-inspired jazzy soul track which even includes a brass section. If you needed any convincing about Charlie’s musical diversity, look no further. Sublime.

There’s such a wide array of influences across the album. ‘For Old Time’s Sake’ is Charlie’s first waltz, stripping things right back to an acoustic guitar, subtle strings and a gorgeous pedal steel. It’s intricately written and draws you in; it’s Kacey Musgraves-esque and oozes quality. But elsewhere, we see totally the other end of the spectrum with the likes of ‘Birthday Suit’, where Charlie unleashes his wild side in a quirky, care free anthem that will surprise listeners. Heavy, attention-grabbing and absolutely badass!

My personal favourite is ‘Cut Your Groove’ – an injection of optimism and belief to keep you going through life’s tough moments. “When the needle drops down, what you gonna do? Life is a record, better cut your groove. Charlie utilises the brass and strings beautifully once again in a stunningly well-crafted track that will surely be a radio single. The title track ‘The Beginning Of Things’ is a close second favourite, a wonderful tale of a complicated family’s ups and downs, right from childhood to marriage to death. We’re taken on an emotional journey with the main character, William, who “only likes the beginning of things” who is the centre of the family’s issues. The song has an enlightening vibe but carries a very deep, sombre story.

Don’t fear C2C-goes, fan favourite ‘Lawn Chair Don’t Care’ is on there, and that isn’t the only quirky ear-worm on the album. ‘Take Me Drunk’, the final track on the album, has a proper honky-tonk vibe and it’s a humorous depiction of a night that went much too far! “Take me drunk, I’m home” – brilliant.

Every time I see Charlie live, I stand there in amazement that the guy isn’t a major star…yet. There’s more than enough material on this album to catch the eye of country radio and it’s another stellar example of the immense talent he has to offer. It’s time people started to take notice of Charlie Worsham and I don’t think it’ll be long until that happens.

Dan Wharton (@LifeInASong_Dan)

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