Holly Williams review – soul-searching scion of a C&W dynasty

Publié le 25 Juin 2014

The granddaughter of Hank Williams Sr brings a melodic sheen to her deeply personal, shiver-inducing songs 

 A poignant, confessional tone … Holly Williams. Photograph: Michael Tran/FilmMagic

A poignant, confessional tone … Holly Williams. Photograph: Michael Tran/FilmMagic

Just as research into genetic musical talent had been all but abandoned in the face of James McCartney, Nashville's Holly Williams re-emerges with The Highway, her third album of accomplished country heartbreakers in a decade. Granddaughter of C&W legend Hank Williams Sr and daughter of Hank Williams Jr, "which is all the press ever talk about", she's inherited a keen melodic blade that she turns to her own deeply personal, often shiver-inducing ends.

"I was born the same day as Jack Kerouac," she says with a Tennessee bar-room intimacy, introducing the album's title track, her love song to touring. So out on the road with guitarist husband Chris Coleman by her side and famous friends abounding – Jackson Browne, Jakob Dylan and Gwyneth Paltrow guest on the album; a King of Leon and Jimmy Page applaud from the balcony tonight – you might expect this towering blonde to cut loose and yee-haw a little. But that's not the Williams way. Hers is a poignant chamber-country tone and, accompanied by double bass, cello and lush harmonies, she uses country music as a kind of pinhole surgery on her sharpest tragedies and traumas.

If, early on, her tales of railroad moonshiners and dead daddies suggest she's cribbing too deep from southern mythology, there's no doubting the authenticity of Giving Up, detailing her failed attempts to help an addict friend, or Without Jesus Here With Me, a beautiful delusion about Christ's role in the 2006 car crash that hobbled her career and nearly killed her sister.

One-paced and relentlessly soul-searching, the night has a confessional hue. When she takes to the Steinway for a delicate, ornate Alone she may as well have a diary page on the music stand, while she follows the meet-cute tale of finding her husband on Without You with Three Days In Bed, the unexpurgated story of a whirlwind affair in Paris – "Not your best song, honey," Coleman jokes. It all ends with a nod to her roots: a cover of granpaw Hank's I Saw The Light and a touching tribute to her grandmother, Waiting on June. Dynasty saved.

Rédigé par The Guardian by Mark Beaumont

Publié dans #Articles de presse

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