Landon Williams – “Tonight” single review

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Landon Williams – “Tonight” single review

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Landon Williams, Colorado based son of a cattle rancher, doesn’t betray any of the rugged natural beauty surrounding him during youth. Instead, his new single release “Tonight” throbs and pulses with the mysteries of urban nightlife, a slinky suggestiveness far more at home under shadows and soft lights than on the pungent Colorado plains. The track has superior production that manages to invoke a powerful mood without ever becoming too heavy-handed. Top-notch musicianship serves Williams well, but his performance alone can carry the day. It’s marvelous to hear how he can recall veteran performers as diverse as Marvin Gaye and John Mayer while retaining a strong sense of individuality.

The production stresses a great deal of ambiance thanks to, in no small part, smart miking and post-production effects. There’s a strain of real blues percolating through this track, but not a flat-footed imitation many listeners expect from retro artists. Instead, it underplays its influences and never overwhelms the listener with histrionics. Williams’ vocal zeroes in on the implied meanings behind the lyric and suggests more than it says, but little of that inference could carry the same dramatic weight without the backing music. Bringing in other musical colors like keyboard textures has an enormously positive effect on the track. There’s a lot occurring in the song’s brief, just under three minute duration, but the musical highlight comes with an appropriately theatrical bridge that provides the track with an understated climax. All of the elements come together here for a memorable outing.

Landon Williams has a bright future, but more importantly, a flexible one. His recorded work to this point clearly illustrates that any boxes he finds himself confined to as an artist are self-created. His skill-set certainly gives him the chance to try new things and explore his creative limits to their fullest. On “Tonight”, Williams has taken up the timeless task of pouring old wine into new bottles with confidence and a sense of adventure. This release comes from someone with a playful imagination and bravery enough to choose any path he wishes to follow. With more than an EP’s worth of music and 200+ live shows under his belt, this is a young man on the rise.

Lydia Hillenburg