Album Review: William Michael Morgan - “Vinyl”
Posted By Matt Bjorke on Thursday September 29, 2016 at 07:37PM PST
With just 11 tracks, William Michael Morgan showcases why traditional sounding country songs still have the spark and sizzle to compete with the latest trendy songs in country music.
With “I Met A Girl” William Michael Morgan showcased to the world that there’s still a place for songs that can only be described as country music. Working with producers Jimmy Ritchey and Scott Hendricks, William Michael Morgan (“WMM”) found ten other tracks to create his debut album Vinyl.
The record starts off with a song called “People Like Me” and while I’m familiar with the song from two previous versions of the song (including an unreleased take by top songwriter Rhett Akins), it’s a new tune to most and it serves as a strong debut track, a song where WMM showcases a voice which blends phrasing and styles from his musical heroes. On the title track — and likely future hit — “Vinyl,” there’s an easygoing charm which showcases WMM’s warm, impressive voice in a song that could’ve been a hit in any of the past 30-40 years, if it had been around then. The previously mentioned Rhett Akins co-wrote “Missing” with Marv Green and the tune’s a fiddle and steel guitar drenched working man’s anthem, a song where I hear hints of Doug Stone’s vocal phrasing in places while hearing Keith Whitley in others. There’s a funky, unique melody backing up WMM on “Spend It All On You,” a song which could be unique enough to stand out on the radio as it tells the story of a man who wants nothing more than to be with the girl of his dreams.
“Beer Drinker” working man groove is joined by the Ronnie Milsap-like “Cheap Cologne” and future concert opener “Something To Drink About,” a mood-setting track which also could be a future radio hit if released (though in that context it might be a bit ‘generic’ compared to other, better songs on Vinyl). These songs give way to two clear standouts on the latter half of this record, “Lonesomeville” and “I Know Who He Is.” The former is the kind of traditional country balladry that tears were meant to meet beer with. It’s just a classic. The latter is a song solely written by popular songwriter Casey Beathard and it’s without a doubt the best song on this record. It’s a story of loving your family even when they no longer know who they are. It’s a relatable song with a strong lyric and an even better vocal from WMM with the right nuance for each syllable of the song.
Vinyl may not chase many trends but its by no means a record stuck in the past. It’s firmly of the moment and it does so without losing its roots. As an artist, William Michael Morgan arrives at a time when his chosen music genre has seemingly gotten away from it’s roots somewhat and with just eleven songs, the young crooning singer is deftly helping to steer the ship back to a place where it allows for more than the latest trend-setting songs and artists to succeed. For that alone, Vinyl feels like one of 2016’s absolute best albums.