BROOKS WILLIAMS & AARON CATLOW
“Live music at its best!” - AmericanaUK
"GREENS AND BLUES" ALBUM & TOUR
BEGINNING JANUARY 2024
Brooks Williams & Aaron Catlow create joyous and virtuosic music that not only tugs at the heart-strings but also gets you up on your feet. AmericanaUK writes, “how such a complete and sensational sound can come from just two voices and instruments is awe-inspiring.”
A year on from their debut tour, the two have literally been wowing audiences at venues and festivals like St David’s Hall, Lichfield Guildhall, Folk In A Field Festival, Cumberland Arms, Ely Festival, The Folk House and The Atkinson, to name but a few.
Inspired by the response to their shows, Brooks Williams and Aaron Catlow have been back in the studio. This time with Josh Clark (Kate Rusby) at Get Real Audio. Alongside Jon Short (John Martyn Project) on double bass, they have created Greens And Blues, a vibrant collection of songs, some penned by Williams and others by Gillian Welch, Shirley Collins, Molly Tuttle, Rab Noakes and Sierra Ferrell, among others.
The playing on Greens And Blues has a spontaneity that reflects the hours and hours they have spent onstage in front of audiences. It’s a potent combination. Free and rooted all at once.
One of the eleven tracks on Greens And Blues is Dooley’s Farm (Molly Tuttle) about a farmer who is particularly adept at growing a very popular (but illegal) crop. The Williams/Catlow arrangement is dark and spooky, complete with sliding double bass lines and guitar arpeggios. Another is Wild Wild Wild (Brooks Williams), a description of a music venue Williams played in the earliest days of his career, that swings with reckless abandon, much like the venue itself. Gillian Welch’s Red Clay Halo gets a fertile reading from Brooks and Aaron, complete with nimble guitar picking, fiddle double-bowing and Aaron’s whistling!
Throughout the recording, the interplay between Williams’ guitar and Catlow’s fiddle is out-of-this-world. Take Anniesland, one of Brooks’ songs. The fiddle kicks it off with a folky-old-timey riff. You think you know where it’s going. Then the guitar snakes its way into the middle of that with bluesy double-stops that turns the song on its head. The riff is so deep it sticks with you long after the song is over. On the late-great Rab Noakes’ Little Way Up, a previously unrecorded song from the Noakes’ back catalogue, guitar and fiddle go full-on country, doubling the melody in a way that would make the Tennessee Three proud.
With three albums under their belt, Ghost Owl in 2021 (nominated “Instrumental Album Of The Year” by Fatea) and Ready For The Times in 2022 (“a cracker,” says Living Tradition), and Greens And Blues in 2024, Brooks Williams and Aaron Catlow are moving deeper into their sound. There is literally no one else on the scene playing this kind of music. You see fiddle and guitar and you think you know what to expect, but Williams and Catlow deliver something completely different. They are a one-off. After virtually every gig they get asked to return for a future engagement.
Aaron Catlow is half of the Bristol-based duo Hawes And Catlow, with guitarist-singer Kit Hawes. He is also the fiddler in UK festival favourite Sheelanagig. Catlow's other credits including playing with Grammy Award-nominated Yola, Mad Dog Mcrea and Afro Celt Sound System.
Cambridge UK-based, Georgia US-born, Brooks Williams has a long-standing solo career in both North America and the UK and is also known for his collaborations with the likes of Dan Walsh, Sloan Wainwright, Hans Theessink, Boo Hewerdine, Guy Davis and Rab Noakes, among others. He is named one of WUMB-FM Boston's Top 100 All-Time Artists. Fatea refers to him as “one of those select few 'how on earth does he do it?!' artists."
Not only are Brooks Williams and Aaron Catlow masters of their respective instruments, but the music they create, says Folk Radio UK, is “a thing of beauty!”
“The audience loved every minute and afterwards begged them to return to the stage.... ” (Big Wheel Blues Club, Isle Of Man)
"One of the best nights ever. Great songs, great fun and wonderful musicianship. Do not hesitate. Go and see Brooks and Aaron while you can. You will have the best time." (Grateful Fred’s, The Atkinson, Southport)
"An outstanding performance of sublime quality, entertaining and beautifully paced. Two musicians at the top of their game."(RAFA Club, Cleethorpes)