11 Songs, 36 Minutes

EDITORS’ NOTES

On 2009’s Here With Me, Holly Williams invites comparisons with Rosanne Cash’s classic ‘80s albums. In both cases, the female heirs of country music dynasties sought to work through painful family issues while fully defining themselves as artists. Here With Me testifies to the singer’s strength and confidence, though many of its songs carry a tinge of torment. Williams has cultivated a voice full of aching resonance, technically polished yet rough in the right places. She fills everything from her own “Mama” (an honest look at divorce and forgiveness) to Neil Young’s plaintive “Birds” with a survivor’s sense of bruised resiliency. She proves herself a songwriter of unusual subtlety on the emotionally ambiguous “Three Days In Bed” and pulls off a genuinely moving confession of faith in “Without Jesus Here With Me.” Justin Niebank’s stark production allows Williams to open up in unguarded fashion. (It’s hard to talk about Here With Me without mentioning that Holly’s grandfather was Hank Williams. That said, she earns every bit of what she achieves on this outstanding release.)

EDITORS’ NOTES

On 2009’s Here With Me, Holly Williams invites comparisons with Rosanne Cash’s classic ‘80s albums. In both cases, the female heirs of country music dynasties sought to work through painful family issues while fully defining themselves as artists. Here With Me testifies to the singer’s strength and confidence, though many of its songs carry a tinge of torment. Williams has cultivated a voice full of aching resonance, technically polished yet rough in the right places. She fills everything from her own “Mama” (an honest look at divorce and forgiveness) to Neil Young’s plaintive “Birds” with a survivor’s sense of bruised resiliency. She proves herself a songwriter of unusual subtlety on the emotionally ambiguous “Three Days In Bed” and pulls off a genuinely moving confession of faith in “Without Jesus Here With Me.” Justin Niebank’s stark production allows Williams to open up in unguarded fashion. (It’s hard to talk about Here With Me without mentioning that Holly’s grandfather was Hank Williams. That said, she earns every bit of what she achieves on this outstanding release.)

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