As first reported in Variety, Country music progeny Sam Williams has signed with UMG Nashville to release his debut full-length album. Originally intending to release the album independently, the son of Hank Williams, Jr. instead release Glasshouse Children via the most-successful label group in Nashville.
UMG Nashville’s president, Cindy Mabe, raved about Sam Williams talent. “I’m more excited about this kid than I have been in a really long time,” she said.
Except for an appearance on Stephen Colbert’s show this past April and appearing on the Grand Ole Opry last year, Sam Williams has largely remained under the radar, self-releasing his country-centric, but hard to keep contained brand of modern music.
“There is a finished album, and frankly, all the credit goes to Sam and Missi (Gallimore, his manager) and the team that’s been working with him,” Mabe says. “All of that happened prior to me being involved at all. I’m the person that just fell in love with it. I stumbled upon him, and it was just like, good God, this kid’s rich and deep. I mean, I feel like it was one of the biggest gifts I’ve been given in quite some time, because I think he’s that special.”
There will be a major radio push to mainstream country format but there seems, like there has been with the diverse roster at UMG Nashville, to expand their reach as far as they can.
“The format’s gotten pretty stale, in what you hear from them from the most commercial parts of it. What’s fringe is not so stale,” Mabe says.” I think this kid has the potential of being as commercial as a lot of things, but always being on that fringe. I think he’s going to walk both lines. There’s a big stirring around the format anyway, and I feel like he’s coming in at the perfect time, especially as a 24-year-old man that has a lot to say — a lot of story, a lot of life that he’s lived, well beyond his years. I think that he is firmly entrenched in country, but also he has a pop reach. He has an Americana reach. He has a triple-A reach. I mean, he can go any direction he wants to. And as a writer, and just in the way that the guy emotes, he really does not have a fence around him.”
Williams prodigy-like talent has him joining his older siblings Hank III, Holly and Hilary as joining the family business. His, like Holly and Hillary’s, seems to nod to that history but to expand on it in new, exciting ways with a vocal talent that is unique for the country format but much more powerful and identifiable than your average mainstream country (male) artist.
Look for Sam Williams’ lead single to come from UMG Nashville shortly and his debut album, Glasshouse Children, to release later this year.