Holly Williams, (yes, of that Williams family) first caught my ears while I was still in college and her song “Sometimes” (from her debut studio effort, The Ones We Never Knew) was in pretty heavy rotation on L100. “Sometimes” stuck out to me for being simultaneously sweet and sorta’ brave as Holly both wishes she were a little girl and ponders what powers for healing she might have if she were Jesus.
Something about her struck me as an Americana-kind-of-Tori Amos, working in similar themes and with a similar, somewhat shocking candor for her respective genre. She found a spot on my lovelorn mix CDs of the mid 00’s with the likes of Patty Griffin, Tift Merritt, and Beth Orton and I didn’t think too much more about her — aside for when “Sometimes” would show up in a shuffle of Itunes prompting me to wonder when I’d hear from her next. Then this song surfaced a few years later…
“Three Days In Bed” (from her second record, Here With Me) probably came my way via a Paste sampler or some such sundry compilation and it stopped me with its aching honesty. In “Three Days In Bed,” Holly Williams puts it out there – she wants to spend three days in bed with a (French) stranger. No apologies, no talk of love, just the facts: she’s “needing some danger,” she’d like a Robertino, she’s prepared to meet her anonymous lover’s demands, and then she’d appreciate a smoke (menthol, please). I loved this song because it made me feel like I, too, could have a grand European affair filled with wine and art and hot limited-English liaisons. Or at least it made me feel less guilty about wanting said affair.
Once again, Holly made it on a heartbreak mix I was making, showed up in shuffle play for a few years, and I wondered when we might meet again or if she’d move to Paris for good.
Then I was driving through the Gulch late last year and listening to this…
And I instantly recognized her brazen vulnerability across the airwaves when the gentlemen of The 615 highlighted our local lass, Ms. Holly Williams, with her song “Highway” from her upcoming release of the same name. In this stellar track, her signature straight-forward style returns as she tackles the troubles of carrying around a famous last name and trying to make music outside Music City.
Her honesty is ever-refreshing and I’m personally stoked that she’ll be in the flesh at Grimey’s this Saturday, February 2nd at 3pm for an intimate in-store performance to celebrate the upcoming release of her third album (slated for Feb. 5 but you can get it early at the in-store!) and in advance of her show at the Belcourt on February 12th at 7:30pm.
Holly was also featured on the Nashville Indie Spotlight compilation on Itunes and you can check that out here.