Music runs deep in the blood of singer/songwriter Holly Williams. Granddaughter of the legendary Hank Williams Sr. and daughter of Hank Williams Jr., music has always been a part of Holly’s life. “The Highway,” which comes out February 5th is the singer’s 3rd album, but distinctively different than her past projects. The album emanates songwriting and vocal talent at its best and is a project that seems to define Holly as an artist. Recently CMTT caught up with Holly to get all the details of the new album, including her collaboration with Dierks Bentley, her other passion besides music and what she has planned for 2013.
“The Highway” is a project that Holly is very proud of. After touring a lot over the years, being on 2 different record labels, and having different bands this album brings something different.
“After all those years I was really able to figure out who I was as an artist and how the album should sound production wise,” she says with excitement. The album consists of really great story songs and sounds very acoustic and organic. Holly admits that once she started working on it she realized, “The songs didn’t need much more than the lyric and the melody. I definitely wanted to keep it about the song without too many things going on around it. “
One great example of a story song on the album is the beautifully written “Waiting on June.” The song, which is a true story, is about Holly’s grandfather and grandmother on her maternal side. “It is definitely the most proud I have been of a song and a lyric,” she says. She lost both of her grandparents within the last four years before making this album, so their story was on her mind.
“I wanted to write about the impression they left on me. They had a long, beautiful, and simple up and down farm life together.”
“The Highway” also features collaborations with people Holly admires in the music business. She talked about how they all came about saying, “I went into the studio not really planning on having any guests.” However things quickly changed. Gwyneth Paltrow, Dierks Bentley, Jackson Browne and Jakob Dylan all ended up joining Holly on the album. She said it all ended up happening very organically.
“Nashville is a small town and we all kind of know each other in the music business and I wanted Dierks raspy voice on the song ‘Til It Runs Dry.” She ended up giving Dierks a call and on a day off he came over to the studio and worked on the song with her. The idea of friends coming to the studio to lend their voice on her album ended up reminding Holly of her dad’s record Hank Williams Jr. & Friends saying, “It was Just friends at the studio doing it for the love of music.”
We would be remiss to not mention the “family tradition” of music. The Williams name is known by country music fans everywhere and we talked to Holly about the influence Hank Sr. and Hank Jr. have had on her music. “I am a huge fan of both of them, and as cliché as it sounds, it is in the blood.” She discussed how Hank Sr.’s lyrics could, “Make ya laugh and make ya cry.” While she is definitely her own artist, she believes,
“It’s just a natural progression for the family. It is definitely something I think is there. From the age of 7 or 8 I started writing and came up with stories and lyrics.”
Her husband and band member, Chris Coleman, is also a huge influence in her music and played a vital role on “The Highway.” He offered a ton of support to the singer who made this record independently of a label and financed it herself. They got to work together coming up with melodies, writing songs and putting the whole thing together.
“He was a HUGE part of it. He kinda feels like it is his record too.”
Music isn’t the only thing that gets Holly’s attention. She has a love for fashion and has a clothing boutique in Nashville called H. Audrey. The singer is very hands-on, always doing the buying to stock her store with the styles she loves. One reason for the gap between albums is because she was growing her store. Now however, everything is running really smoothly.
“I love when I get off the road I get to go there and fold jeans, and unpack shipments, and pick out colors…it is a nice break, and I really love the normalcy that it brings.”
With a new album and a flourishing clothing store it seems 2013 will be keeping Holly busy. When asked about what this year holds the first thing she said was,
“I have lots and lots of touring coming up!” She has shows scheduled with Loretta Lynn, Sheryl Crow, and a lot of headlining gigs along the way as well. Holly admits,
“I am a little less for country radio,” however she also knows that doesn’t mean she can’t have a career. “I really want to build a career and that’s why I decided I should just do it on my own label, build it up and build a fan base.”
With that said you could hear the excitement in her voice and her passion for the music. “The Highway” is an album that will show people what kind of artist Holly is. The way she connects with a lyric accompanied by such a distinctive voice makes this album one of those that doesn’t come around very often. Make sure you check out “The Highway,” which is available February 5th.
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