Holly Williams comes from a famous musical heritage – her grandfather is Hank Williams, and her father is Hank Williams, Jr. But on her new album, The Highway, it’s her mom’s side of the family she reminisces about.
Williams was raised in Alabama and Tennessee, so she’s a Southern girl through and through. She also spent a lot of time on her maternal grandparents’ farm in Louisiana. Simpler times spent without being overrun by technology are the things she misses, and writes about. Williams wrote or co-wrote all eleven songs on the new album.
Her first album, The Ones We Never Knew, was released in 2004. The follow-up was 2009’s Here With Me. She took time off before creating the new album to make her clothing store, H. Audrey, a success. During that time, Williams also got married, bought a house, and learned to cook. She compares her love of cooking with songwriting:
"…you choose your ingredients, you try and fail a few times and keep trying, you taste and test and taste and test, and the moment of finding the perfect mix for a recipe is equivalent to when I'm in the studio and the perfect mix has been accomplished there."
This time out, she financed and co-produced her album, and is releasing it independently. But she had help from a lot of friends – including guest vocalists Dierks Bentley, Jackson Browne, Jakob Dylan, and Gwyneth Paltrow. Her husband and frequent band mate Chris Coleman helped write some of the tracks, and plays on the album as well. Some of her other co-writers include Lori McKenna and Sarah Buxton. She reached out to Charlie Peacock (The Civil Wars) to be her co-producer. The album was recorded over the span of nine months in 2012, at The Art House in Nashville.
Aside from looking back at simpler times, she was also inspired by missing the road. Having lived a more domesticated lifestyle in the past few years, she found that she wanted to tour again – hence the album’s name, The Highway.
Holly Williams will be touring to support the new album, which came out on February 5. She plays Nashville on February 12, with opener Anderson East.
What: Holly Williams
When: Tuesday, February 12 at 7:30p.m.
Where: The Belcourt Theatre