If there’s a young artist who knows a thing or two about glass houses, it’s Sam Williams. As the grandson of the one and only Hank Williams and the son of the also-inimitable Hank, Jr. (as well as the sibling of fellow artists Holly and Hank III), he grew up internalizing the trials and tribulations that accompany fame, with the wisdom he gleaned from those experiences evident in his thoughtful, often confessional lyrics. While his lineage no doubt informs his music, Williams is firm in his desire to chart his own path. “Just as a human being is finding themselves every day, all the time, that process for an artist is in your personal life and in the music,” he tells Apple Music. “I’m definitely still finding who I am as an artist and as a writer, and a human altogether. So, I think that that is evident on the album, and it kind of transpires throughout the songs.”
Family is, appropriately enough, a recurring theme on the album, as on the cinematic title track, the standout “Can’t Fool Your Own Blood,” and the raw closer, “The World: Alone,” which honors Williams’ late sister. The LP is a sonic outlier in today’s country scene, piecing together influences from Americana, folk (there’s a decidedly Woody Guthrie-esque structure to “10-4”), and contemporary country, making for a collection that rewards repeated listens. Below, Williams walks Apple Music through several of Glasshouse Children’s key tracks.
“Glasshouse Children” “I don’t really write titles a lot, and ‘Glasshouse Children’ was the title that was just sitting with me. And I really wasn’t entirely sure what it meant. I wanted it to feel very visual, like you could kind of close your eyes and imagine yourself in a glass house with everyone on the outside looking in and not knowing what it’s like. None of us know what anyone else is going through or what their life is like. And the quote that, it's something like, ‘People who grew up in glass houses throw stones,’ it’s kind of similar to saying, ‘Hurt people hurt people.’”
“Can’t Fool Your Own Blood” “‘Can’t Fool Your Own Blood’ explores the danger of lying to people you love and lying to yourself. In the first verse, I explore the situation of somebody close to you lying to you. And that’s just a terrible thing to teach your loved ones. In the second verse, I explore lying to yourself about things you know you can’t do and roads that you don’t need to go down.”
“10-4” “‘10-4’ was one of the fastest songs that I’ve ever written. I was writing with Daniel Tashian, who’s done a lot of work with Kacey Musgraves. We sat and talked for a really, really, really long time. And then, it was later in the afternoon—we probably didn’t have that long left—and I was like, ‘God, I have to leave here with a song today.’ ‘10-4’ is an expression my dad uses a lot in texts. And I just thought, ‘What could love be like if someone just didn’t see any of your issues or problems or mistakes, and they just agreed to love you?’ Like, ‘Hey, will you love me?’ ‘10-4, OK.’ And it’s not really a true song, but I think that with a lot of the darker and more sensitive songs on the album, it’s more of a hopeful song.”
“Kids” (feat. Keith Urban) “‘Kids’ is more of a universal song, and obviously a lot more commercial and accessible, but it talks about the cycles of growing up and life and how tiring they can be. But it’s still a feel-good song, at the same time. I think it’s really, really cool. And I love the sound of it. I think it’s an important piece on the album, and Keith Urban playing guitar on it just makes it 100 times more sick.”
“The World: Alone” “I wrote ‘The World: Alone’ about two years ago [in 2019]. After I recorded it, it just sounded so different than anything anybody was putting out in Nashville. And it wasn’t originally going to be a single or anything. Then my sister Katie passed away last June , and it kind of threw off everything in my life and completely derailed music. I took a break on everything for months and months, and it just was so strange listening to that song, knowing I’d written it a year before, and it felt like it had a completely new meaning. That was something I always looked forward to as an artist, that I would take my sister and my nieces and nephews to do really cool things and see really cool places. That would be one of the advantages of going into music. And I had to develop a new meaning for that song—that although it’s tragic and I can’t really put it into words, that I can be sad, but I can also feel a little peace in knowing that my sister can see the world.”