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HAYWARD WILLIAMS —PRETENDERS (Why Rivers Records)

www.haywardwilliams.com

Americana singer-songwriter, Pretenders was recorded in Rockford, Illinois and like his other six full-length albums the record is once again at times a little dark, and finely crafted. From Milwaukee, Wisconsin Williams has toured three continents, Europe in particular had been a favourite with the articulate performer.  

Support comes in the form of Charles Koltak (drums), Jeremy Moses Curtis, Corey Matthew Hart (voice, guitar) and finally, Brooks Milgate on Hammond B-3 organ; the latter has a considerable influence on the direction of Williams’ work. But not overly so. Yes, there is a folky soulfulness on some tracks, but there is also an edgy Americana theme that runs throughout as he draws on folk, blues and a hint of folk country rock. 

Strongest tracks include “In The Fire”, and with a mid-western feel restless and slightly mystically ode “Meet Me Halfway” (hints of Warren Zevon, and it is also brilliant) join the mellow “Come Undone”. Plus, with a skip in its step vibrant cut “If You Ever Heard Her Name” (complete with effective harmony vocals), and on bringing in that aforementioned soulful edge “Only Love” jumps off the page. What a cool groove. To say it is a recording of the highest order is just the start as B3, harmony vocals, hooky rhythm and Williams handling of lead vocals and guitar roll back the years in wonderful fashion. 

On drawing on his travel experience, “Because Of You” sees Williams dig deeper into the mind of the listener as he speaks of life, and how one needs to follow their muse (‘no one can tell you what to do, you are free from every point of view’). On getting down and a little funky “Probably Never, Maybe Tonight” has him blend soulful sounds of Muscle Shoals and deep American South in graceful fashion.  

                Maurice Hope 

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April 2018

1
Courtney Marie Andrews
100 pts.
May Your Kindness Remain
Loose Music
PK,CVL,DHO,JB,LK
2
Mary Gauthier
59 pts.
Rifles And Rosary Beads
In the Black Records
 
3
Caleb Caudle
49 pts.
Crushed Coins
Cornelius Chapel Records
TJ,TK,MP
4
Western Centuries
48 pts.
Songs From The Deluge
Free Dirt Records
DD,GS,FS,HM
5
Vivian Leva
44 pts.
Time is Everything
Free Dirt Records
 
6
Ed Romanoff
42 pts.
The Orphan King
Pinerock Records
 
7
Grant Peeples
41 pts.
Settling Scores vol. 2
Continental
AN
8
Joan Baez
32 pts.
Whistle Down The Wind
Proper Records
 
9
Jeb Barry and the Pawn Shop Saints
29 pts.
Texas, etc...
DollyRocker
MF,HDB
 
Sam Morrow
29 pts.
Concrete and Mud
Forty Below Records
JV
11
Chris Smither
27 pts.
Call Me Lucky
Signature Sounds
JSM,JD
12
Michael McDermott
26 pts.
Out From Under
Continental Song City
CRS
13
John Prine
24 pts.
The Tree of Forgiveness
Oh Boy Records
SP
14
Mary Chapin Carpenter
23 pts.
Sometimes Just The Sky
Lambent Light Records
 
15
Dean Owens
22 pts.
Southern Wind
At The Helm
PJ
16
6 String Drag
21 pts.
Top of The World
Schoolkids Records
FCE,JS
 
Haley Heynderickx
21 pts.
I Need To Start A Garden
Mama Bird Recordings
 
 
Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats
21 pts.
Tearing At The Seams
Stax Records
RM
19
Abe Partridge
20 pts.
Cotton Fields And Blood For Days
Skate Mountain
MVP,RK
 
Adam James Sorensen
20 pts.
Dust Cloud Refrain
Continental Song City
BM
 
Ben Reel
20 pts.
Land Of Escape
B REEL Records
 
 
Chip Taylor
20 pts.
Fix Your Words
Train Wreck Records
LM
 
Kesia Nagata
20 pts.
Looking For Horses
Caramal Productions
GC,EZ
 
Sheesham & Lotus & 'Son
20 pts.
Clear The Table
SepiaPhone Records
SZ,PG
25
3hattrio
18 pts.
Lord of the Desert
Okehdokee Records
 
 
Marlon Williams
18 pts.
Make Way for Love
Dead Oceans

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