New York, NY (Top40 Charts)
Richmond, VA-based Americana/roots rock singer-songwriter Rob Williams is set to release his fourth album, Weathering the Storm, Vol. 1, on August 28, 2020. A natural storyteller who crafts melodies and narratives with intelligence and ease, Williams is known for his compelling, character-driven songs, and, with his new album, he shares his most moving and intimate work yet. Full of beauty and balance, each track reveals the characteristic poise and brightness of Williams' songwriting, blending the relaxed, free-wheeling spirit of old classic country with a new, more modern consciousness.
Unlike his previous two albums, which were recorded over short periods of time at studios far from Virginia, Williams returned to the same process he'd used on his very first album for Weathering the Storm, Vol. 1: a year-long course of mini-recording sessions at Sound of Music
Studio in Richmond. The album was produced by John Morand, and its refined sense of cohesion comes in part from allowing more space for the recording process. "I'd never really taken my time to record before this," Williams says. "Spreading it out gave me time to fill in the gaps, step back and listen for a while, and figure out what was needed or what needed to be let go."
While the album title may conjure images of the country's recent tornado devastation or the general upheaval of American life in 2020, the root inspiration is Williams' personal experience with depression. An album that blends elegance, approachability, and a refreshing amount of candor, Weathering the Storm, Vol. 1 features driving acoustic guitar rhythms, warm horn harmonies, and the introduction of newer elements like raw electric guitar and textured vocal effects. The songs on the album reside between the rough calm of alt-rock bands like The Wallflowers
and the open-hearted, windows-down purity of artists like Tom Petty
and the Heartbreakers.
An academic with a doctorate in educational leadership, Richmond, VA-born-and-bred Williams was fascinated by music from the start. Inspired by everything from early R.E.M.
and The Beatles
to contemporaries Craig
Finn and Josh Ritter, he has developed an intuitive ability to translate lived and imagined experiences into catchy, well-crafted, and engaging music. Williams honed his talent for making memorable Americana, country, and alt-rock in several bands (Contocook Line, Joe Buck, Jr.) before releasing his first solo album, A Place in the Sun, in 2013. In 2015, Williams released his second solo album, Southern FM, recorded in Dallas, showcasing his ability to produce expansive, nuanced acoustic roots rock. An Hour Before Daylight, recorded in Maine
and Williams' third solo album, further demonstrated his knack for succinct and gripping narratives.
His dynamic, varied stories are not only entertaining but straightforward in their humanness. "They're like character studies," Williams says. "There are certain boundaries for songs, as opposed to storytelling, that help you make choices - only a certain number of syllables per line, for example. I like that challenge: finding just the right word, just the right line."
In light of the COVID-19 pandemic, Williams is unable to tour right now. Fans eager to see him live can catch his "Basement Sessions" livestreams on his Facebook page at 8 p.m. eastern on July 9th, July 23rd, August 6th, August 20th, and August 27th (special album release session). Additionally, Williams is confirmed to livestream as part of TheBoot.com's Social Distancing Shows Series "Live and Socially Distant" Sessions on July 16th at 9 p.m. eastern on TheBoot.com's Facebook page.
Past press praise:
"…lilting, lyrically rich… Williams tells stories that captivate and ring true." - No Depression
"A confessional singer in the spirit of Bob Dylan, Tom Waits
or Tom Petty, Rob Williams is a pure storyteller at heart." - Top40-Charts.com
"…one of the most enjoyable listens of the year." - Independent Clauses
"…Williams' words ring heavy with an emotional tone ripe with allegories and historical cues you'd expect from the birth-state of America. It's soft and rugged, wholesome and powerful, and takes you on a ride through each song. ...a rhythm roller coaster of blues, Americana, and smoky bar voices that sound so familiar." - Nashville Music
"In times of instability, oppression, division, and cultural chaos, artists are there to question the status quo, using their creativity to bring overlooked issues to light. …Rob Williams [did] just that with the release of his new album, An Hour Before Daylight." - Mother Church Pew
"…a gentle roadhouse jamboree…" - Maximum Ink
"…unique, melodic hook-laden style of Folk-abilly… Rob Williams' heartfelt vocals and lyrical insights play like a wondrous dream you half remember as you wake..." - Turnstyled Junkpiled
"…instantly memorable…" - The Daily Country