Sam Williams Embraces Authenticity And Vulnerability On ‘Glasshouse Children’ Sounds Like Nashville
In April of this year, Sam Williams announced the independent release of his debut album Children in the greenhouse. Three months later, in June, another announcement was made: he signed a recording deal with Universal Music Group Nashville, and the label was moving forward with the release of the LP.
It is difficult to imagine a record of exquisite quality to begin with without the support of a major record company. Publishing it completely independently has always been the plan of Williams and his manager. But sometimes the plans change and evolve into something bigger, which the singer hasn’t fully grasped yet.
“We shared the album with them, and they were really blown away by it. They were amazed at the quality, the subject matter and the fairness. [the fact] that I took it really seriously, ”said Williams Looks like Nashville. “I have no idea how it happened but I’m really, really grateful and, here we are!”
Released on August 20 Greenhouse children marks the first full album that Williams has released as an artist and on his new label. The ten-track collection masterfully captures the nooks and crannies of Williams’ heart and explores the cadence of life with unwavering vulnerability. Injury, loss, lineage, existence, triumph, romance and happiness are some of the themes through lines highlighted throughout the Capital Collection.
Williams grew up like an ordinary child. His father, Hank Williams Jr., “separated work from the house long before I arrived,” the singer said. There was nothing big, fancy, or Hollywood about Williams’ childhood. He lived in Paris, Tennessee for 18 years of his life, attended public school, and generally spent his time playing sports, hanging out with friends on Lake Kentucky, and going hunting with his father. .
Now a father himself with much more life than most of his age, Williams has grown wise beyond his years. Firmly believing in the power of vulnerability, the rising country star has written his self-revealing songs with meticulousness, deep soul-searching and heart on his sleeve, all amalgamated into a work of art that is shameless to him. -same.
Williams doesn’t sidestep the peripheries of relevant life issues, nor does he assume the know-it-all savior complex. Instead, the artist courageously tells her stories with sheer candor, drawing on both linguistic precision and poetic lyricism to paint vivid images.
Williams challenges the genericity of the country sound from the start of the titular album’s opening. Written two years ago, the enthralling tune serves as the foundational framework and catalytic vision for Greenhouse children.
“I wrote ‘Glasshouse Children’ about two years ago, and that was the point for me. It was a title I loved, and I don’t usually write to [song] titles at all, ”Williams says. “But after I finished that song, I knew that would be the name of the album.”
“Glasshouse Children” contemplates the startling pain of youth and a life riddled with insurmountable expectation and regret. He paints a musical memory of “the duality of beautiful fragility,” as Williams describes it. With bloated strings, drums, bass and keys, the orchestral production, while unorthodox, still captures the beloved, lonely sound of country music.
“We don’t want to leave the pain alone / All that broken glass stretching out into the past / Reflected by the collapsing ceiling / Only reflects how I feel. ” Williams sings plaintively.
This tension between struggle and triumph is a recurring theme on Williams’ album. “Can’t Fool Your Own Blood” chronicles the acceptance of his lineage, “Kids” – which stars Keith Urban on bass and Charlie Worsham on acoustics – highlights the reckless behavior of today’s youth. hui in their quest for instant gratification, “Hopeless Romanticism” questions the toxic spiral of love and relationship breakups, and “Happy All The Time” questions the age-old link between materialism and happiness, or the lack thereof.
Written by Williams and successful songwriter Mary Gauthier, “Happy All The Time” is a slow that he wrote at the request of his publisher to write “happier”, more euphoric songs.
“It was pretty funny. My editor was always on me [for not writing] all the happy songs, and that I [needed] to write happy songs. This song came out really beautiful and I knew it was an important song for me that meant a lot. I left this writing and I sent it [to her] and said, ‘See, look!’ And she said to me, ‘I know this won’t be a happy song, but I bet it’s great,’ ”Williams recalls.
While it was already a song “that meant a lot” to him, the icing on the cake was when one of his musical heroines, Dolly Parton, decided to sing it with him, a secret he kept for over two years. While the country legend doesn’t direct a verse herself, her melancholy and tender fairy-godmother harmonies heighten the emotional impact of the song that is thought-provoking.
Contrary to popular belief, even with his last name, Parton’s enlistment was not a big blow to Williams. He had no direct connection with the “9TB 5” singer, and he didn’t know anyone on her professional team. Luckily, after several attempts to reach Parton, Williams discovered that one of his longtime friends, famous songwriter Bobby Tomberlin, knew a close friend of his, who then agreed to pass the message on to the superstar. . Humbled with gratitude and sincerity, Williams took a thick parchment paper and carefully typed a personal and heartfelt two-page letter to Parton on a typewriter, nothing less.
“It was very serious because I admire it a lot,” shares a still amazed Williams. “I talked about how validation would be [to collaborate with her], the song itself and what I wrote it about. She got it and really liked the message of the song, my voice and the lyrics.
He adds, “I’m really glad I didn’t try to have a caption on a song that didn’t mean a lot to me. This song has always been [special] and she felt the same, and just Absolutely shot and put his heel in it.
While there have been plenty of silver liners and milestones for Williams over the past year, he has also had to deal with the pain, which stems from the loss of a family member. In June 2020, he lost his sister, Katie Williams-Dunning, in a tragic car accident that left him and his family devastated and devastated.
Even if Greenhouse children does not feature a song directly about this loss, a track written at the beginning, “The World: Alone”, ended up taking the form of a tender tribute.
“[Now] I have to go alone / And I don’t know what I’m gonna do / Because I was going to show you the world / Now who am I supposed to show it to? he sings, simultaneously questioning the abyss of loneliness, loss and despair. It was not written with Katie in mind, but the ongoing grief and healing had led Williams to realize her “clairvoyance,” while seeking solace in the bittersweet truth that her beloved sister “is with. God and can see the whole world now without [his] to help.”
Showcase his multi-genre musical influence and stay true to himself, as Katie always encouraged him to do.Greenhouse children has a song for everyone. The catchy “10-4” and “Kids” are modern pop-country tunes that feel good, the bouncy “Wild Girl” leans on pop-rock, and Hank Williams fans might find a home in ” Bulleit Blues ”, the simplest country offer project. Co-written with Ben Roberts of Carolina Story, Williams delivers the poignant track with a tear in his voice over spooky lyrics and intimate acoustics.
“Pour a little bullet and shoot it straight to the brain / I didn’t know this morning it would be one of those days / I said I won’t go forget my name / I know I shouldn’t / But I can’t help it to try to wash everything, “ it sings in the opening verse with the almost pronounced word harmonies that accompany it.
“I was thinking about the transitions in my life, about the mistakes I made and just thinking about what the future would hold for us because we really have no idea. We don’t really control like we think, ”says Williams of the track, which he initially recorded as“ had a cold blues ”because he was sick. At only a minute and a half, it serves as an interlude to the album, both melodically and thematically.
“To me it’s kind of like the transition from one side of ‘Glasshouse Children’ to the drama and the lyrics really, really personal and vulnerable, exploring different sounds and more so the hope that’s in there. rear half of the disc, notes the newcomer.
“Can’t Fool Your Own Blood” is another out of the ordinary ballad and album. Written with Gauthier and Jaimee Harris, Williams ruminates on the hold and power of his lineage over their lives, for better or for worse. “You can lie to a liar / Go ahead and start the fire / And burn whatever you love / You can steal a thief / I’ll act like I believe / But you can’t cheat your own blood. ” it moves both with nostalgia and a sharp self-awareness.
Growing up the son of a country icon and the grandson of the genre’s elder statesman isn’t always pretty and dandy, especially with the constant comparisons you face. Sometimes Hank Williams or Bocephus fans would criticize young Williams’ country credit or echo questions from a Waylon Jennings song: “Are you sure Hank did it like that?” Did old Hank really do this? “
For the 24-year-old, while honoring his family’s legacy is paramount, he also believes in treading confidently as an artist.
“I would be wrong if I said that I didn’t [feel the weight of their legacy], but it’s not always as heavy as you might think. Even though it’s in my lineage and my right, their two legacies have been perpetuated by so many artists, ”recalls Williams. He emphatically points out how his outlaw father played an indispensable role in blurring the lines between country and rock, which Eric Church, Jason Aldean, Brantley Gilbert and other superstars proudly defend today.
Although the exam is “very heavy” at times, as Williams admits, he knows he cannot shirk his lineage and the indelible mark it has left in history. So instead of focusing on that, he strives to ensure that his music authentically reflects who he is, what he stands for, and everything he has to offer in the esteemed storytelling format.
“[When] I think about what my sister Katie would want and want for me, I know that [it] would be to go on and put something [out] it’s one hundred percent me, it’s beautiful and it speaks to people over there, ”he reflects with marked assurance.
As Hank Jr. sang so well on his 1979 hit “Family Tradition”: “I am very proud of my father’s name, although his music and mine are not exactly the same.” Over 42 years later, that feeling still holds true, but this time for the third generation of Williams.
“I just write what I write, sing like I sing and watch what I look like, and I’m trying my best not to take it much more seriously than that. This is what my grandfather did, this is what my father did and this is what I do.