Alex Williams
Evening Show

Alex Williams

Beachland Ballroom
$140.00 On Ticketweb
All Ages
Alex Williams performs at the Beachland

Each Ticket = Intimate table for four (4) with full restaurant table service in our renovated Ballroom!

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"I grew up on 80's hair metal," Alex Williams says with a laugh. "My dad listenedto Cinderella and Ratt, so that was my musical upbringing until I was about 16.That's when my grandparents played me 'Dreaming My Dreams' by WaylonJennings and 'Red Headed Stranger' by Willie Nelson."

It would be hard to overstate the importance of those records on Alex Williams'life. After hearing them, he traded in his electric guitar for an acoustic, dove deepinto classic country music, and, most importantly, began writing his own songs.Roughly a decade later, Williams is releasing his debut album, 'Better ThanMyself,' and much like Willie and Waylon, he's doing it on his own terms."It seems like there's a lot of people out there just trying to get through the day,"reflects Williams. "They're working a job they don't love or following somebodyelse's dreams just because it's safe and it keeps them comfortable. I didn't wantto be like that."

'Better Than Myself' is a distant cry from the sugary pop hybrids currentlydominating country radio airwaves, and as far as Williams is concerned, that's agood thing. He's part of a new breed of upstart outsiders, writing music that atonce sounds both modern and traditional, channeling the raw, authentic soundthat's made stars out of outlaw singers and red dirt rockers. His live show is aforce to be reckoned with, earning him dates with everyone from Lynyrd Skynyrdto Hank Williams, Jr., but he's equally at home in the studio. Fat, twangy guitartones, honky-tonk pianos, and swirling pedal steel lay the framework for Williams'blend of vintage country and southern rock, and his lived-in baritone breathesgenuine life and depth into his based-on-a-true-story brand of songwriting."

This record represents the last ten years of my life," says Williams. "Mythoughts, my feelings, everything that I've been through, it's all in these songs.It's what I've wanted to say for a decade."Williams was born just outside Indianapolis, in the small town of Pendleton, IN.After graduating from high school, he relocated to Nashville for a short-lived stintat Belmont University, but he quickly dropped out after realizing he could learnmore about life by hitting the road and experiencing it than he ever could in aclassroom."

I played some in Nashville and did the Broadway thing, and I played locallyaround Indiana some, too, but my first real gigs were in Texas," remembersWilliams. "I went down there because my cousin owned this shrimper bar on theGulf coast where I could play. That was a big part of what got me so into Texasand all those Texas songwriters like Guy Clark, Jerry Jeff Walker, and Billy JoeShaver."

Williams had a band with some of his former college classmates, and by the timehe was ready to make the leap and go solo, buzz about the group had caught theear of Big Machine Label Group's Julian Raymond. While Big Machine might bebest known as home to crossover stars like Taylor Swift, Raymond's illustriouspedigree as a GRAMMY-winning songwriter and producer included work with oldschool greats like Glen Campbell and Hank Williams Jr., and he sensedsomething special in Williams."

I was worried," remembers Williams. "I was 25, leaving this band, and I had noidea where my career was going to go, but Julian gave me a chance. He invitedme to come by and start recording demos of my songs, and we probably endedup doing 50 or 60 of them. We kept slimming it down, but I kept writing."When it was time to head into the studio for proper recording sessions, Williamsand Raymond pieced together an all-star band featuring some of Nashville'sfinest musicians: drummer Victor Indrizzo (Willie Nelson, Emmylou Harris),keyboard player Matt Rollings (Lyle Lovett, Mark Knopfler), bassist JoeieCanaday (Leann Rimes, Steven Curtis Chapman), pedal steel player DanDugmore (James Taylor, Linda Ronstadt), and guitarists Tom Bukovac (DonHenley, Stevie Nicks) and J.T. Corenflos (Dolly Parton, Alan Jackson).With Raymond at the helm as producer, the band recorded live on the studio floorand wrapped basic tracking in just two days. The result is a rollicking throwbackchock full of wit and wisdom, colored throughout by Williams' fierce streak ofindependence. Album opener "Better Than Myself," which features harmonicalegend and longtime Willie Nelson bandmember Mickey Raphael, sets the stageperfectly, as Williams sings, "Truth be told in every note I play / Truth be told Idon't care what you say."

"One of my old bandmates was pissed at me one time and he said, 'Man, yoursongs are better than you are,'" Williams remembers. "That was hard to hear, butI had to save the line. I wrote the song in the back room of a venue before weplayed one of our last shows together, and it really felt like this new beginning forme."

Williams has never been one to pull a punch in his deeply personal songwriting.On the fingerpicked "Pay No Mind," he imparts hard-won insight about what (andwho) really matters, while the folky "Freak Flag" is a devil-may-care ode to beingyourself, and "Little Too Stoned" laments the loss of the authentic in favor of oursociety's obsession with the latest trends and fads. Elsewhere on the album, thehard-charging "Hell Bent Hallelujah" offers up a profane prayer for some goodnews, the infectious "More Than Survival" insists on living a life that's moremeaningful than just getting by, and "A Few Short Miles" draws inspiration from afigure Williams met during those early days onstage in Texas."

There was a fisherman down there who rescued an old acoustic guitar from adumpster after a hurricane came through Galveston," remembers Williams. "Oneday I was in the bar restringing my guitar and he knocked on the door and gave itto me. It was really inspiring getting to know him, and a lot of things he said to memade it into that song."

Perhaps the most personal track on the record, though, is "Old Tattoo," a stirringode to Williams' grandfather and the strength of his mother and grandmother inthe face of his passing. "Time don't heal / It's just fadin' like the floors of an oldsaloon," he sings. "You can hide the pain away / Even if it's carved right into you /Like an old tattoo."

It's an arresting moment, and an apt metaphor for a songwriter with the ability tolodge his melodies and lyrics deep beneath your skin. Forget fame and fortune,hits and hype. As far as Williams is concerned, the legacy you leave behind withthe ones you care about most is the true measure of any man. With that in mind,and with a debut album as good as 'Better Than Myself' under his belt, it's clearthat Alex Williams is here to do more than just survive.

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Venue Information:
Beachland Ballroom
15711 Waterloo Rd
Cleveland, OH, 44110