Music > Back to Mercy (1992)
"Brooks Williams is one of those unique performers who sounds as good or better live as he does on his recordings. Williams is able to recreate much of that 'in concert' excitement on his new release, 'Back to Mercy'. Although 'Mercy' is much more orchestrated than previous works, the addition of fretless bass, percussion, piano, fiddle, mandolin, and background vocals does not happen at the expense of Williams' guitar or voice.
He sings in a warm, friendly tone not unlike James Taylor. His voice mesmerizes in songs such as 'Mercy Illinois', a tale of small-town tragedy based on a true story. The music takes a back seat to the tender tale being told.
'Back to Mercy' crosses over from the Folk market as Garth Brooks and company have crossed over from the Country market. The slightly more produced sound and strength of the material on 'Back to Mercy' should help to solidify this up and coming musician's already solid, if not yet known record."
-Scott B. Adams, The Ithaca Journal, 3 Dec 1992
"William's third album has more ambitious production but it always serves to support his strong singing. Here are songs of hope and human renewal."
- Richard Meyer, All Music Guide
"Brooks Williams is noted for his intimate solo performances. Although Williams' third album is his first full-band outing, the Georgia-born and Northampton-based singer-songwriter has no problem maintaining the warmth of his solo work. Instead, the larger format allows him to explore the rhythmic textures of his songs. Williams' finger-style acoustic and bottleneck guitar playing remains very much in the fore-front, accented by flugelhorn player Tom Halter, bassist Kent Allyn, drummer Doug Plavin and producer Johnny Cunningham (Silly Wizard, The Raindogs) on fiddle and mandolin. Vocals by Newton-based duo, The Story -- Jonatha Brooke and Jennifer Kimball -- add a further dimension. The traditional song, "Old Blue" is strengthened by the interjection of the duo's novelty tune "Dog Dreams," while "Dancer's Delight" is marked by the sound of Brook's tap dancing. Williams' southern- tinged vocals range from the pop- folk of "If I Never" to the Dickey Betts-style country-rock of "Mason-Dixon Line."
- Craig Harris, The Boston Globe, 1993