Country singer/songwriter Holly Williams is certainly no stranger to country music. Growing up in Nashville as the daughter of Hank Williams, Jr. (and by extension, the granddaughter of Sr.), Williams has previously released two studio albums on major labels, and even seen some chart success. With all the buzz now surrounding her new independent release The Highway, it’s quite possible that going the “indie” route may provide her with her highest level of success yet.
Two things in particular strike me, and hit me well, about Holly Williams and this album. First of all (and regular readers will understand this, coming from me)—it’s country music. Not pop with a country twist. It’s not dated—you couldn’t even call it “old school”—but with its slightly understated acoustic-driven style, you certainly feel like you’re listening to a country artist, not a crossover. Second—there’s Holly Williams’ slightly raspy voice. Raw, emotional, authentic, bluesy, her voice is pure ear candy.
The offspring of country legends often are faced with a dilemma when trying to follow in the “family business.” Not only do they have huge shoes to fill in the eyes/ears of the public, but even if they have real talent, the public is often quick to assume that the up-and-coming artist is simply trying to trade on the family name. In any case, being a third-generation Williams could be both a blessing and a curse, because Holly is dealing with not one, but two icons in her family line. It’s a lot to live up to.
But make no mistake: Holly Williams proves with The Highway that she can stand as a country artist in her own right, with or without the family name. If being related to the Two Hanks means she never finds her own place in the spotlight, then more’s the pity, because she certainly deserves to.