Album Review: Holly Williams - The Highway
By: Matt Bjorke
With a career that's spanned the past decade and seen the release of two critically-acclaimed albums on major labels, Holly Williams certainly didn't need to go the indie route with her third album, The Highway yet that's exactly what the third generation Country music artist has done. Keeping more in the introspective spirit of her grandfather Hank Williams than her raucous Father Hank Jr and brother Hank3.
On The Highway Holly Williams explores life and love and her family, particularly the family from her mother's side of the family. It's an exploration that first shows up on "Gone Away From Me," a somber story about her mother (As told through first-person storytelling), and this particular tune features Jackson Browne while "Railroads" tells a story of a transient life and what hopping the rails gives the vagabond soul: hope in the unknown and the future. It's a delicious story that is matched often throughout The Highway, including on the opener (and lead single) "Drinkin'," the title track "The Highway," the deliciously acoustic rocker "Days Go By," "Happy," and the closer "Waiting On June," a song that's not about Johnny Cash and June Carter but Holly's mother's parents.
Charlie Peacock's production is strong and is particularly great on the showstopper "Without You," a ballad that deserves to be played by any and all radio stations that are smart enough to play good music as Holly sings of giving up chasing boys and falling happily in love with her husband, musician Chris Coleman. Each of the songs on the record are self-written by Holly, except a handful of songs which feature Cary Barlowe, Lori McKenna, Coleman and Sarah Buxton. Guests on the record include Jakob Dylan ("Without You"), Jackson Browne, Gwyneth Paltrow, Cary Barlowe and Dierks Bentley ("'Til It Runs Dry").
The entrepreneurial owner of super successful clothing boutique H. Audrey in Nashville, Holly Williams didn't need to continue to make music to be successful yet the granddaughter of Hank Williams (and daughter of Hank Williams, Jr.) not only is making music but as a self-finance independent artist she has pulled together a team that has helped her create the best music of her career.