It is almost nine years ago, since Willie Jones stood in front of the The X Factor jury to persuade them of his musical skills. Now he finally made it: he released his debut album Right Now. The album has become available on 22nd January 2021.
Willie Jones – About The Artist
Willie Jones was born on 23rd September 1994 in Shreveport, Louisiana. He participated in the second season of The X Factor in 2012, where he made it to the finals, but overall placed last / 16th in them. He qualified in the auditions with a version of Your Man by Josh Turner. He is additng a lot of black music other influences to his country music, which made him more and more popular. Especially two 2019 singles, Down For It and Bachelorettes on Broadway became very popular songs at streams. Both songs are part of Right Now.
Willie Jones – Right Now – Track by Track
The album contains twelve tracks, including two additional remix versions of Down For It. The total playing time is 40 minutes.
1. Country Soul
I cannot really state that I like country rap / country hip-hip songs. There is indeed one very major exception to this statement: Willie Jones. This guy is just cool – and the starting track is illustrating what makes him so special: it is country enough to make it a great song for country music fans – and on top it is that energetic that you just cannot think about you might not love it. Cool guy, cool music, cool start of his album – I know you feel it!
2. Back Porch
Sun shines a little bit brighter
Moon hangs a little bit higher
Iced tea’s a little bit sweeter
That grass a little bit greener
That beer’s a little bit colder
A little warmer when you hold her
Slide out that screen door, it’s better on a back porch
Even the traditional and cliched country music stories don’t feel too stereotype when Willie Jones does them. He created his own style and Back Porch is not like a dusty old country hat, but like a cool country party outfit. A song you know already – so that you know it is good. Lovely, wide range instrumentation, by the way.
3. Bachelorettes on Broadway
At least, the post-chorus It’s a celebration, bitches verses (and some more) lead to the Explicit button on Spotify. This song does not need that lyrical extra fun – it is already a party fun soundtrack at Nashville’s party fun district. Damn, I miss the Nashville Broadway, not necessarily due to the bachelorette parties.
4. Down For It
This section of four previously released songs (the next one, American Dream, was released just a few days before the album) on Right Now feels like a climb to the top of the mountain to me: Down For It is not just an outstanding song, but shows how beautiful, sentimental and melodic Willie Jones can be. That’s what separates a talent from a great artist – versatility. Willie Jones has been a talent at the X Factor nine years ago – in the meantime, he grew to a great artist.
5. American Dream
As said, American Dream has been released just very shortly before the album. It is the most rhythmic and least country music song on the album so far. But more than that, it is the best and most personal lyric on the whole album, likely. A clear statement about everyday’s racism in the USA – combined with a clear statement that Jones loves the country he is living in.
Proud to be a Black man
Livin’ in the land of the brave and the free
Yeah, I’m all-American
And that American dream ain’t cheap
We’ve come a long way
Still got a long way to go
When you’re livin’ as a Black man
It’s a different kinda ‘merican dream
6. Right Now
After this amazing highlight (and, by the way, the longest track on the album), it feels hard to just continue and listen to the next track. It is a bit of an unfair positioning to the title track on the album, which is not too bad, but thus takes a very plain role on the album.
Calling Right Now mousy, Trainwreck is the clear opposite indeed. The song is present and powerful from the very beginning.
I’m just a trainwreck ever since you left
Girl, you were the best thing I’ve ever had
And now I’m jaded
Falling off the tracks ’cause I can’t get you back
In contrast to the chorus above, my personal highlight of the song is rather the almost desperate shouting at the end of the second verse
Why? (Why?) Baby, why? (Why?)
I could’ve loved you girl ’til the end of time
And now I’m hurting, it’s like I’m burning
Like I flew into a wall at a hundred miles
Breakup song Willie Jones style – feels somehow better.
8. Drank Too Much
In the world of Willie Jones fusion style songs, there are more country music-alike songs and some which are more feeling like rap style. Drank Too Much is definitely more on the rap side – but what I love about it is that there is still that thin layer… That spirit of country music in it. I could likely not relate to this song too much if it wasn’t a Willie Jones one.
9. Whole Lotta Love
I got a whole lot of love, love for you – this relaxed track is a nice one for a party or Willie Jones on stage. To me, it is still one of the rather weaker tracks on the album.
The regular part of the album closes with Actions, a slow piano ballad, which shows a very different aspect of Willie Jones’ music right on the finish line of Right Now. Lovely one.
11. Down For It (JD Walker Version) featuring T.I.
The eleventh and twelfth track are remix versions of Down For It. The first is introducing a stronger rapping part and could be an interesting option for mainstream radio. There are just very few remixes of songs I really enjoyed during my life. This one is not too bad and adds some very different elements… But I just take it as a bonus.
12. Down For It (Lamar “MyGuyMars” Edwards Remix) featuring T.I.
The second remix of Down For It is to me not even close to the original – or the JD Walker version the track before. Thus, the twelve track review of the album closes with the “dislike” feeling.
Willie Jones – Right Now – Spotify
Here is Willie Jones’ album on Spotify:
Willie Jones – Right Now – My View
To me, artists like Willie Jones are key persons to increase the popularity of country music to other groups of people. I don’t only think about non-white American listeners, but especially the European market. Country music does not need to be boring. It does not need to be about girls who have emotional highlights when they are the front-seat passenger in a pick-up truck and do some squirrel hunting thereafter. Country music can be really cool, modern and versatile. Willie Jones is cool, modern and versatile. Right Now proofs it. Ten very different track, from party anthems like Bachelorettes on Broadway to the very political American Dream. Great debut album!
Media Review – Debut EP / Album Top Picks!
Sound of Nashville on Flyctory.com