Album Review: Charlie Worsham’s ‘Beginning of Things’
It has been nearly four years since Charlie Worsham released his debut album Rubberband and on Friday (April 21) the singer/songwriter/musician extraordinaire will follow-up his 2013 LP with the 13-track Beginning of Things. Worsham worked with producers Frank Liddell (Miranda Lambert, Lee Ann Womack) and Eric Masse (Rayland Baxter, Mikky Ekko) alongside executive producer Arturo Buenahora Jr. (Eric Church, Dierks Bentley) on the project and co-wrote nine of the songs. Throughout the album, his musicianship shines as he effortlessly segues from genre to genre as the release spans country, jazz, and even has hints of trippy indie rock influences.
“I had fallen out of love with music, and making this record put me back in love with it on a level I hadn’t felt since I was a teenager, ” Worsham says in a press release. “’Beginning Of Things’ was a challenge in surrendering control and trusting my own talent. I’m confident that these songs and these recordings capture my musical geography and personal truth, and at the end of the day, I’m convinced that is the ultimate purpose of an artist—to speak one’s truth.”
Worsham speaks his truth on memorable tracks like “Please People Please,” where he sings of being done trying to follow the pack once he realizes that he can’t please people. “Debbie Downer ain’t your friend,” he sings alongside grooving guitar. “There will always be someone to criticize your style / cutting other people down is a means to a miserable end,” he concedes. Part social commentary, “Please People Please” is a welcomed bold call to action rarely heard in today’s country music.
Meanwhile, “Southern By the Grace of God” is as country as it gets with finger-picked guitar rhythms and Worsham’s warm vocals. “I sleep better with crickets singing / windows open and door’s ain’t even locked / Southern by the grace of God,” he croons at song’s start. Later he reasons, “you can’t out-country me.” It is on this track that listeners are reminded of Worsham’s ability as a musician with a 90-second musical interlude that will have every foot tapping along.
While songs like the jazzy “Call You Up” and indie rock-fused “Birthday Suit” continue to showcase Worsham’s versatility and chameleon-like ability to switch gears, it is on the country story songs including “Old Time’s Sake” and “The Beginning of Things” that leave the greatest mark. Co-written by Worsham, Jeremy Spillman and Brent Cobb, “Old Time’s Sake” paints Worsham as a gentleman, offering to buy a girl a drink at a bar and asking her to slow-dance to their favorite song. Instead of going home with her later that evening he walks her to her car to say goodbye. “I just know how it could go if we jump in too quick so I’m willing to wait / This might sound crazy, old fashioned maybe, let’s try something new for old time’s sake,” he concedes.
Tracks like “Lawn Chair Don’t Care” and “Take Me Drunk I’m Home” lighten the mood while current single “Cut Your Groove” recalls the optimism within Worsham’s debut single “Could It Be” as he compares the world to an old record player.
“When the needle drops down whatcha gonna do / life is a record better cut your groove,” he advises. No doubt a mantra for Worsham, the singer/songwriter cut his own, unique grove on his latest release Beginning of Things. The 13 tracks transcend genres and whether he is playing traditional country music, letting his inner rock star shine or transporting listeners back in time with more soulful, jazzy numbers one thing is clear: the country genre is lucky to call Worsham its own.