On the Edge: Zane Williams

photo courtesy Susan Niles PR

Zane Williams knows a thing or two about being an overnight success—at least the kind that he describes in the winking title track of his new album, Overnight Success. “Ten years ago I imagined it and thought it would happen, and it didn’t and it didn’t and it didn’t, and now 10 years later, it finally is,” Zane tells Country Weekly. “It took me a long time to find where I belonged and figure out who I am as an artist, get a great CD, a great band, great management and record label—all the pieces of the puzzle that you need. I’ve definitely lived this song.”

With the pieces in place, Zane is ready to go national. Overnight Success is the fourth album for the singer/songwriter, who is a fan favorite in the diverse world of Texas country music. “There, it’s OK for me to bust out a bluegrassy song, then follow that up with a honky-tonking traditional country song,” he explains, “and then a real rocking song, then a folky, singer/songwriter-y song. As long as it’s a good song, they’re cool with it.” 

Good songs and diversity are what make up Zane’s newest release, but he wasn’t particularly motivated to make a theme album. “I wanted to pick the best 10 or 12 songs that I had,” he says. “They didn’t all sound alike, so we rolled with that. And it ended up being a very diverse album sonically. Our goal was to give each song the instrumentation that that particular song deserved. My producer, Tom Faulkner, told me that he believes my voice is distinctive and is enough of a common thread to tie it all together. And the fact that I wrote all the songs.”

From the tongue-in-cheek “Overnight Success”—an anthem, not just for musicians trying to make it big, but for anyone who has to pay their dues to achieve success—to the winsome “On a Good Day” to the honky-tonkin’ “Damned” to the straight-up country “Hands of a Workin’ Man,” Zane reveals not just a competency, but a real knack for conveying a musical message that is relatable and pleasing to the ear—no easy feat. 

“I have a pretty high standard for myself,” Zane says. “When you listen to the radio you’re hearing the best songs that Alan Jackson has or the best songs that George Strait has. The best of the best of everybody. I’m trying to write the best song that’s ever been written about this topic right here. Then I may never write another song about that. If I did my job, I said everything I wanted to say.” 

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