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Brooks Williams - New Everything (Red Guitar Blue Music)
The slim, almost unassuming figure of Statesboro-born singer/songwriter Brooks Williams can often be seen strolling over fields at some of the UKs major festivals or tuning up at your local folk or acoustic club with a broad smile on his face. We in the UK are really quite lucky to have Brooks Williams as a resident. Now based in Cambridge, the musician has already released a steady flow of excellent albums both as a solo performer and alongside Cambridge native Boo Hewerdine in the duo State of the Union. Hewerdine in fact makes an appearance here on the title song.
On NEW EVERYTHING, Williams once again presents a mixture of self-penned country blues influenced songs such as Son of a Gun, Prosperity and Carry On, a song that appears twice on the album, first as a stripped down acoustic take and then later with a full band, together with one or two well-chosen non-originals such as Dave Alvin's timeless King of California. Martin Simpson also makes a guest appearance on Deep River Blues, sparring effortlessly with Williams both who play resonator guitars. Each of the dozen or so selections finds Williams in a pretty laid-back mood, revealing a set that shows the lighter side of the blues.
Co-produced by Williams and Andy Bell up in Sheffield, NEW EVERYTHING, does indeed borrow heavily from the blues tradition but in turn offers in the delivery a rich blend of American musical styles that ought not be pigeon-holed in any particular genre. It's American music peppered with a pinch of Buddy Holly and the Everly Brothers, Doc Watson and Blind Willie McTell with an additional flavouring of The Beatles, particularly at the end of the title song, an influence that has presumably risen up through the soles of his shoes from this green and pleasant land now beneath his feet.