Recently Casey and I (along with Brian, Vicki, Kasey, and Kenny) headed over to New Orleans to see Better Than Ezra play at the House of Blues. I’ll write up the concert another time, but what I wanted to write about was the opening band that night. The opener was a band out of Houma, Louisiana called Sons of William. They are a 3 piece consisting of Joe Stark on guitar and lead vocals, his brother Dave Stark on drums, and Jen Janet on bass. Their name stems from the two Stark brothers’ father Bill. He was responsibile for their early musical education so the name Sons of William seemed a fitting tribute to him.
Normally opening bands are very hit or miss at shows, but these guys put on a great performance. Their songs have a great rock feel with some infectiously catchy melodies and beats. Joe Stark demonstrated that in addition to singing well, he is a very talented guitar player. Not overly flashy but able to deliver just what a song needs.
Prior to forming Sons of William, Joe released albums and toured as a solo artist and had been offered gigs playing guitar with very talented musicians such as Marc Broussard, Will Hoge, Rock Star INXS and even one of my favorites Butch Walker.
After their set I was able to chat with Joe at the upstairs bar for a bit while he ordered (and paid for, no freebies from HOB for the performers it seems) drinks for himself and the rest of the band. He was a super nice guy and very excited about all the shows they have been playing recently and the things they have scheduled in the future. He mentioned that they will be starting a residency soon at the Hard Rock Casino in Biloxi, MS in the Hard Rock Cafe. A residency is a string of gigs at the casino that are free to the public. I guess it is kind of like being the house band but getting to play your own original stuff.
This past week I ordered and received their album What Hides Inside,
and it did not disappoint. If you like a nice variety of rock and roll then you should really check it out. If I had to sub-genre it I would say Southern Rock, but it is definitely more Will Hoge than Lynyrd Skynyrd. There are rocking guitar driven tracks, some piano driven tracks that are very soulful, 2 and 3 part harmonies, and really great backing vocals from bass player Jen Janet. All in all a great album from this talented group. I will definitely be ordering their EP and self-titled first album to get some more tunes from these guys.
I look forward to catching them in Biloxi at the Hard Rock and here in Mobile next time they pass through. Give them a listen at their myspace page or pick up the album, and let me know what you think.
Updated to add youtube videos:
Performing Easy To Love (youtube won’t allow this one to be embedded)