Review: Sons Of Bill “One Town Away”

Bill Wilson is either a very lucky man or the world's greatest dad. As a tribute to their father, sons Sam, James and Abe formed the band "Sons Of Bill." The three Wilson brothers joined with bandmates Brian Caputo and Seth Green to create "One Town Away," which is one of the best Americana albums of the year.

Besides bucket loads of talent, the band members obviously have no shortage of persistence. After sending demo recordings to producer Jim Scott (Whiskeytown, Tom Petty, Wilco), the famed engineer for Rick Rubin called the Charlottesville, Virginia band to offer his time. The result is a tightly produced, Americana gem.

"One Town Away" begins with "Joey's Arm," which is a hard-luck song in the vein of Chris Knight. The pace picks up with the breezy "Broken Bottles" The lyrics are heartfelt, and the lead vocals have a charming authenticity. But the standout track on the first half of the album is "The Rain," a hard rockin' cut that shows the "Sons Of Bill" at the height of their musical powers. However, it is "Rock And Roll" where the band proves that they can drive an audience wild, and this cut is sure to be a concert favorite.

The biggest surprise of the album is "The Song Is All That Remains" which offers reflective lyrics and a passionate vocal performance. The Wilson brothers' father, Bill, teaches philosophical theology at the University of Virginia, and his influence has obviously allowed the band members to reach deeper inside themselves than most musicians in their mid-to-late 20s.

The best song on the album is the classic country track "Charleston," which offers perfect harmonies with a Red Dirt edge. "Charleston" deserves to be a country chart hit. "So Much For The Blues" and "Going Home" should be released to Red Dirt and Texas Radio and also have major chart potential. "Western Skies," "In The Morning," and "Never Saw It Coming" are also exceptional tracks.

Sons Of Bill hail from one of the most historic areas of the United States, and the band's music on "One Town Away" brilliantly chronicles life's daily struggles with a clear artistic vision. "One Town Away" is a must-buy for any country or Americana music fan who enjoys a youthful spirit combined with a respect for the past. This historical reverence is proven in the lyrics of every song, but it is most poignantly conveyed by the Wilson boys lasting tribute to their dad in the band's name. Long live Bill Wilson. And long live the Sons Of Bill.