Review: Jason D. Williams- Killer Instincts
As you can see, the album title and cover art is a homage to Jerry Lee Lewis. This is not by accident. Memphis native Jason D. Williams is a boogie-woogie piano man with slightly unhinged lyrics and, according to talk around Memphis, may even be the Killer’s illegitimate son.
That particular rumor is addressed on the album’s first track, the fittingly titled “Like Jerry Lee,” where Williams sings “I don’t know if he is or isn’t/I could’ve found out once but I didn’t/I figured either way it would be more than I could stand” before asking people to “quit wanting me to be Jerry Lee.”
My own take, judging solely from his voice and looks, is that Williams is more likely than most to be Jerry Lee’s kid, but either way the legendary rock and roll wild man isn’t his only influence by any means. Throughout the album’s 14 tracks, we also hear hints of the Rolling Stones, Moon Mullican, George Jones, and Todd Snider, who produced the record.
Perhaps the best track here is “If You Ever Saw a Baby With Its Pud,” a Beefheartian slow rock ballad dealing with druggies, babies in the mud, John F. Kennedy, marijuana, Jackson Pollock, giants, and heartbreak.
The next track finds Williams doing perhaps the perfect jukebox song, “You Look Like I Could Use a Drink,” before covering Stick McGhee’s “Drinkin’ Wine Spo-dee-o-dee” (as popularized by Jerry Lee) and John Prine’s “Daddy’s Little Pumpkin,” both of which display his exceptional skill as a performer.
Things get even weirder in the second half of the album with two gospel numbers (“Mr. Jesus” opens with the line “I’ve lost my pecker and I’ve lost my way/I don’t have even a bale of hay”), a classical piano piece, and a honky tonk ballad referencing Merle Haggard and Willie Nelson.
This album isn’t for everyone, but if, like me, you’re a rockabilly aficionado with an affinity for the strange and eccentric, this is some of the best fun you’ll have all year.