Hailing from one of the most famous lineages in American music would surely create challenges for most artists to create their own identity, but not for singer-songwriter Holly Williams. The granddaughter/daughter of Hank Williams, Sr. & Hank Williams, Jr. respectfully, makes her independence evident on her third studio album – The Highway – released on her own imprint, Georgiana Records, earlier this year.
Co-produced by Williams and Charlie Peacock (The Civil Wars), The Highway contains 11 original tracks written or co-written by Williams and features guest vocals from Jackson Browne (“Gone Away From Me”), Jakob Dylan (“Without You”), Dierks Bentley (“’Til It Runs Dry”) and Academy Award winner Gwyneth Paltrow (“Waiting On June”).
Raised in Nashville, Tennessee, Williams embraced music by playing songs on the guitar and writing songs as a teenager. Soon after, she started booking herself in nightclubs and hit the road driving her mother’s suburban across the country. In 2004, her debut album, The Ones We Never Knew, was released and she soon expanded her touring around the world opening for Keith Urban, John Hiatt, and John Prine.
A near-fatal car accident with her sister Hilary two years later left the emerging songstress unsure if she would be able to play the guitar, but she was able to overcome her injuries and began playing and writing songs. In 2009 she released her follow up album, Here With Me. People Magazine declared the album, “One of the Top 10 albums of the year”, and Billboard said it was “...one of the best singer/songwriter albums to come out of Nashville”. During this same time she married fellow musician Chris Coleman, and launched a high-end women’s boutique in Nashville called H Audrey.
Reflecting back on her life, Williams once again became inspired to write and record another album. The Highway, she says, is her coming of age record. “These songs really brought a focus into my life personally. I turned 30, I got married, my grandparents passed away, I opened a clothing store, my husband tours the world...there’s a lot to keep up with,” says Williams. “But the highway came calling and I suddenly had this serious longing for the road, storytelling, and sharing the life I live.”
Williams collaborated with songwriters Lori McKenna (“Without You”), Cary Barlowe (“’Til It Runs Dry”), Sarah Buxton (“A Good Man”) and even penned 3 of the albums tracks with her husband Chris.
Looking ahead to 2014, she brings the album’s title to life by joining one of her favorite artists, Jason Isbell, on tour and later continuing to trek the world on her own. Not bound by genres, she will also release “The Highway” as a single & music video to her fans around the world.