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Monday April 21, 2014
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Holly Williams

 

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Holly Audrey Williams, granddaughter of Hank Williams Sr. and daughter of Hank Jr., has traded a bit on her famous name. She runs a posh clothing boutique in Nashville called H. Audrey (Audrey was the wife of Hank Sr., who inspired some of her husband's most tortured songs and apparently matched him step for step in substance abuse), and, like her father, has written some songs that make you search for clues as to how closely they reflect the various family curses.

She's also issued several albums that try out different voices, the latest being The Highway. The New York Times described it as sounding more like John Prine or Bruce Springsteen than the smiley-face music of contemporary Nashville--which shows, I guess, that someone was fed some publicity lines. In fact, Williams' music has neither the sardonic verbal virtuosity of Prine nor the poetic populism of Springsteen. It's about what you would expect from someone trying to carve out a place as a songwriter on the fringe of the Nashville music business. There are a few road and railroad songs--one of which name-checks Jack Kerouac--some breakup songs, and some love songs, all pared down to very common images. "Ol' Hank made it here, and we're all sure that you will," sang Hank Jr. once upon a time, and his daughter's music also shows the pressure of high expectations.

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