Folkadelphia Session: Holly Williams (performing at Musikfest in August)

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The following post was written by James Clark Conner, recording engineer, Folkadelphia collaborator, and co-founder of Adelphos Mobile. We are frequently in the studio recording touring and local musicians and usually Clark does not chime in with an opinion. Together with our other Folkadelphia recording engineer, Eric Sanderson, the pair are focused on doing their job – making the mixes sound pristine. In the a few rare cases, after preparing the live mix, Clark relaxes a bit to take in the session on a purely enjoyment-based level. We were all quite moved by emotional rawness, deft songwriting, and musicality of Holly Williams and her bandmates Annie Clements and Chris Coleman. Furthermore, Clark was compelled to send me this brief exposition on Williams’ session.

Holly Williams reminds me of Warren Zevon. Not because they write similarly or have similar personalities, but because they are artists with a wealth of talent who, mentioned to the average listener, draw a blank stare. And, for the fact that when trying to sell them to the uninformed, one invariably makes a list of the characters in their respective personal narratives that have achieved a greater level of recognition. With Zevon, Igor Stravinsky, Jackson Browne, Bruce Springsteen, Billy Bob Thorton. With Williams’, Hank Williams, Jackson Browne, Jakob Dylan, Gwenyth Paltrow.

Yes, Holly Williams is the granddaughter of Hank Williams, but she is an artist in her own right. At her recent Tin Angel show, people wiped away tears by the end of the song “Waiting On June.” Honestly, I was nearly one of them. In “Drinkin’,” when she sings the first line of “Why are you drinkin’ like the night is young,” I can see a woman leaning on the handle of an open screen door, saying those very words to her deadbeat husband. Williams is a storyteller, and a damn good one at that. She uses her heritage to weave a Faulknerian web of stories of Southern life across generations, switching seamlessly between the different voices of her characters You really should get to know her. You can start here.

The editor of this piece would like you to know that Holly Williams will be returning to the area to play Musikfest in Bethlehem, PA on August 7th and World Cafe Live at the Queen in Wilmington, DE on August 10th

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