Admired by both listeners and fellow musicians, acoustic guitarist, singer, songwriter and prolific collaborator Brooks Williams has been a leading light on the acoustic music scene for three decades.
His guitar skills are evident as he effortlessly blends melodic fingerpicking, country flat picking and bluesy grooves. He’s rated one of the Top 100 Acoustic Guitarists and can slide in and out of folk, blues and country with a jazz player’s adroitness. "He was playing Americana before it had been given the name," says CMP.
His music is smart and his songs are hook-laden, whether interpreting others’ songs or singing his own. King Of California (Dave Alvin) is one of his most requested songs, alongside his own Frank Delandry, a song about a New Orleans guitarist. "His songs are imbued with uplifting generosity," writes RnR.
Brooks Williams has performed and recorded with an extensive range of artists including Boo Hewerdine, Hans Theessink, Colin Linden, Rab Noakes, Sloan Wainwright and Martin Simpson. His collaborative tours are legendary.
One exciting collaboration is State of the Union, with singer-songwriter Boo Hewerdine. Their releases - three to date, State of the Union, Snake Oil, Saltwell Sessions - and tours are highly anticipated. Q gave them a 4-star review and they’ve appeared on The Andrew Marr Show on the BBC. A fourth album and new tour are in the works for 2021.
When Covid stopped live music in its tracks in March 2020, Williams began, in the spirit of collaboration, virtually recording and filming a series of Lockdown Duets. Williams pairs up with Aaron Catlow, Dan Walsh, Christine Collister, Katie Spencer, Henry Parker, Findlay Napier, Boo Hewerdine and Kris Drever for a compelling playlist of classic and traditional songs.
Born in Statesboro, Georgia USA, Williams moved to Boston at the height of that city’s burgeoning singer-songwriter scene. In the early 1990s, he did his apprenticeship in the bars and clubs in New York and New England and cut his teeth supporting artists like Shawn Colvin, Chris Smither, Rory Block, Leo Kottke, Odetta, Billy Bragg and Taj Mahal. People took notice and acoustic music radio played him from the very beginning, including WUMB-FM in Boston, where Williams is one of their Top 100 Artists Of All-Time.
His first album, North From Statesboro, caught the attention of The Washington Post and National Public Radio, which set the ball rolling and Williams never looked back. In subsequent years he has released a staggering 29 recordings in 30 years for labels like Green Linnet Records, Solid Air Records, Signature Sounds and Reveal.
In 2020, celebrating 30-years since his first album, Williams released Work My Claim. An acoustic retrospective of re-recorded and re-imagined favourites, the album features John McCusker, Aaron Catlow, Christine Collister and Jim Henry. "Work My Claim," says Blues Matters, "is a career-defining statement, an important legacy, and a lifetime achievement."
In 2010, Williams made a huge life-shift, moving from Massachusetts USA to Cambridge UK where he lives with his wife Jo and their extended family. When not touring or recording, he actively promotes acoustic guitar and roots-folk music through workshops, online one-to-one sessions, and his ever-popular guitar weekends.
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"He's quite simply one of the most unassuming, natural performers on the circuit, and his easy, relaxed manner conceals the greatest level of true expertise, whether using jaw-droppingly effortless fingerstyle or soulful slide to accompany his extensive repertoire of songs (many, although self-penned, are wholly idiomatic, authentic creations). He's been at the top of his game ever since I can remember, and he shows no sign of slowing down or resting back on past glories." FATEA
"He is a lovely player, a lovely singer and a great writer. Brooks Williams is the real thing." Martin Simpson
"He has a beautiful voice that you just melt into." AmericanaUK
“It is pure talent, hard work and relentless touring which has brought him to the pinnacle of his career.” Blues In Britain
"One of the most consistently excellent musicians in roots music. On top of all this is his songwriting which stands comparison with virtually any of his peers." American Roots UK
“Melodic virtuosity on the guitar that runs like liquid from his fingers.” The Irish News
“Dazzling guitar work!” Acoustic Guitar
“How soulful a solo guitarist can be when he has talent, taste and astonishing technique.” Blues Revue
“Deft, tasteful guitar chops.” Rolling Stone
“It is pure talent, hard work and relentless touring which has brought Brooks Williams to the pinnacle of his career.”
— Dave Scott, Blues Bytes