Alex Williams is "Waging Peace" With Himself On Authentic Sophomore Album
Alex Williams is here to tell his unfiltered truth. Waging Peace arrives approximately five years after Williams' debut album, Better Than Myself, with many fundamental changes occurring for the singer in between - both personally and professionally. Released last Friday, Waging Peace responds to his experiences with addiction and parting from a controversial major label.
“It’s been said before, but it’s true. All anybody like me hopes is that my songs will affect
somebody,” said Williams. “Something that makes life a little bit easier to handle, and maybe finds some positivity in the struggle. I just hope there’s a connection there, and that I can keep making the art that satisfies me moving forward. I think that’s a big difference.”
The Indiana-born Williams discovered his natural gifts for singing and songwriting at a young age, drawing inspiration from greats such as Waylon Jennings and Lynyrd Skynyrd. A baritone singer rooted in Americana and country, he often incorporates rock and metal guitar into his tunes. His soulful belt, irresistible twang, and poetic songwriting have captivated many, as the singer now boasts over 5 million global streams on Spotify.
Williams' musical journey began on a promising note, but soon turned tumultuous. In 2017, he seemingly burst onto the scene out of nowhere, putting out his debut album with Big Machine Records before even touring. “It’s all I knew at that point. When I made the first record, I didn’t have a band, I didn’t have a lot of writing experience, and overall a very surface level sense of what I wanted to do,” reflected Williams of these early days. His talent was undeniable, but his label tried to put him in a mold that just didn't fit him. Consequently, his debut record struggled to connect with listeners - it tried to blend outlaw country with mainstream pop in ways that work beautifully for others, but failed to reflect Williams. The then-burgeoning artist faced frustration and burnout from several aspects of the industry, succumbing to drugs and alcohol.
As evidenced by several anecdotes from current and former clients, Big Machine is notorious for denying its artists creative control. If the label's name rings a bell, it was all over the news in 2019. Summer of that year, its founder and CEO, Scott Borschetta, sold superstar client Taylor Swift's masters to businessman Scooter Braun, without her consent and knowledge. Of course, this sparked worldwide backlash and resurfaced numerous stories of his controlling ways.
Fortunately, Williams found a way out for himself, parting with Big Machine in favor of the independent Lightning Rod Records. Waging Peace is the result of taking much-needed time off to work on himself and his craft. It put him on edge to have to wait so long before releasing another album - but ultimately, he believes it comes at the right time. He spent the COVID-19 quarantine solidifying what he wanted to say, and as a result, Waging Peace tells much more authentic stories. “It’s tough to be transparent about the difficult things that sparked these songs,” Williams solemnly explained in a press release. “But I’m not going to fabricate anything.”
When listened to in order, the album's twelve tracks tell a story of recklessness, hitting rock bottom, looking in the mirror, burying one's feelings, and control (or lack thereof). The title Waging Peace stems from the idea that we must give ourselves grace for our past mistakes, rather than be at a figurative war with ourselves. Deemed "fantastic" and "country as hell" by the renowned Whiskey Riff, the record cements Williams' status as both a performer and a creative mind.