Music Spotlight: William Beckmann

Aug 08, 2023 at 04:32 pm by Bethany Bowman

When I was sent William Beckmann’s song, “She Can’t Be Found,” I was mesmerized. It sounded like something from Johnny or Waylon with a little bit of Elvis thrown in. Surely that young man who I saw on Instagram wouldn’t be singing a song that sounded like it was straight out of 1970s country. I was impressed.

William Beckmann grew up on a ranch in Del Rio, Texas, just a few houses down from where the famed songwriter, Radney Foster, grew up. And while Foster was more than twice his age, he greatly influenced the young artist.

Beckmann started taking piano at age nine and showed an affinity for music. He eventually learned guitar. One of his high school teachers was friends with Foster and connected the two of them. It was Foster who taught young Beckmann how to write songs that mattered.

"Radney taught me how to make every line count. He showed me how to really pick things apart and understand the mechanics of songwriting, and I still send him stuff I'm working on to this day," he stated in a press release.

I have interviewed many artists close to the age of William Beckmann, (28) but none have ever sounded quite like him. He told me, “I listened to all kinds of different things growing up. I went through a big vinyl collection phase and spent way more money than I should have on used records. I was buying traditional country albums, sometimes from people I didn’t even know. “

Besides George Strait, the Texas native listened to early Goerge Jones, Hank Sr., Hank Snow, and even Little Jimmy Dickens. It was the style of music that essentially built Nashville into what it was today.

This music spilled over into Beckmann’s music. Not only that, being from a Texas border town, he grew up bilingual. You can hear the Mariachi influence in several of the Texas country artists I have interviewed. Besides his big hit, “Bourbon Whiskey,” he sang a Spanish song, “Volver, Volver” at his Opry debut this spring for which he received a standing ovation.

In 2022, Beckmann played at the famed Corona Club in Acuña, Mexico. (This is the bar made famous by Antonio Banderas in the movie Desperado in 1995.) Other artists who played there include Randy Rogers, Wade Bowen, and Pat Green to name a few.

Beckmann put out a TikTok video about how cool it would be to do a show at the club. Then it became a thing that fans were asking for.

“I’m proud of him for putting his foot on the pedal. That’s the only way you’re going to do it,” said Pat Green of Beckmann.

Beckmann explained, “The Corona Club is famous for all the country concerts they had in the late 1990s and early 2000s. It was a rite of passage to play in that place. Doing this was my attempt to bring that back. It’s been way too long since anyone has done a country show in Acuna at the Corona Club…. It sold out. It’s so surreal to me that it happened.”

The song that Beckmann penned, “Danced All Night Long” is a tribute to the town of Acuña, Mexico, and his Hispanic heritage as he talks about dancing with a Spanish señorita. The song is so traditional, I thought for sure it was a cover, but it is an original tune that he composed.

One of the rare covers he did record was Bruce Springsteen’s “I’m On Fire.” The slower country version of the song works because Beckmann has the sincerity and conviction to pull it off.

This year besides his Opry debut, he recently released a seven-track EP, called Here’s to You. Here’s to Me. The EP title comes from of line of the song, “Leaving Kansas for Tennessee,” a song he wrote with Nick Walsh, who left Kansas to try to make it in Nashville. Before he left, his house burned down, and this song is the story.

The song, “Damn This Heart of Mine” started as a ballad, but when they recorded it, they turned it into a country rock tune with a Tom Petty influence. “Tennessee Drinkin’” is about being stuck in Tennessee drinking in a bar while dreaming of the love that he left back home in Texas.

One of his favorite songs, “Bad Dreams and Amphetamines” is a hat-tip to the truck drivers who keep our economy going.

Beckman moved to Nashville several years ago when he transferred to Belmont University. As a long-time solo songwriter, he was unfamiliar with the Nashville co-writing sessions. He made friends with lots of industry insiders and is liked and supported by many, yet he still enjoys writing alone. My favorite “She Can’t Be Found” and “The Party” were solo writes.

The Here’s to You. Here’s to Me EP embraces the trimmings of traditional country and belies Beckmann’s 28 young years. If hadn’t listened to so much of his music, I would think it was an act. But it’s not. These songs are who Beckmann is and what he is about. He is pals with other young rising country artists like Parker McCollum and Koe Wetsel and he appreciates their talent. But to be true to himself, he often channels the ghosts of the greats like Hank Sr., Waylon Jennings, George Jones, and Johnny Cash while creating his own modern brand of outlaw country, often with Spanish lilt.

The music that Beckmann effortlessly creates pours out of him. And as a bonus, his howling harmonica accompanies him on his recordings and at his shows, which takes his music to the next level. I am so happy that I stumbled upon this young and diverse talent.

Beckmann will be playing shows throughout Texas and the Midwest including another stint at the Opry on September 12. Be sure to check his website for all the details.

You can follow William Beckmann on FacebookInstagramTwitterTikTokYouTube, and all streaming platforms.

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Bethany Bowman is a freelance entertainment writer. You can follow her blogInstagram, and Twitter.

Here’s to You. Here’s to Me. Tracklist

 1) Damn This Heart Of Mine

 2) Leaving Kansas

 3) It's Still January

 4) Bad Dreams & Amphetamines

 5) Tennessee Drinkin'

 6) She Can't Be Found

 7) The Party