Music > Knife Edge (1995)

Reviews:

"If you're a Brooks Williams fan you have probably already purchased this album and I've been preaching to the choir. If you have not yet been introduced to the music of this wonderful New England performer, you can do no better than to start with this latest album. KNIFE EDGE was one of my top ten album picks of 1995 and stands as what I think is Brooks Williams' finest work to date. The greatest challenge for Brooks Williams may be to create a next album that will be the equal of this one."
- Geoffrey Huys, Folk and Acoustic Music Exchange, 1996

"BROOKS WILLIAMS: Knife Edge. Green Linnet (through Movieplay). WHAT an irresistible combination! A voice like James Taylor, a guitar playing style which ranges from Piedmont blues to delicate folky finger-picking, and an ability to write lyrics which resonate with emotion and create powerful images. It is hard to understand why Brooks Williams has not been more successful. Hailing from Statesboro in Georgia he blends the musical styles of the American Deep South with a relaxed vocal style and some first-class guitar playing. This record touches most of the seductive bases. Late Night Train is a ballad about leaving home which Williams sings with such sensitivity the listener surrenders to the delicate intermingling of warmth and sadness. Monterey Pines has a bluegrass robustness; Knife Edge sounds like James Taylor when he's in jazz-blues mode; Lee's Highway is a bottleneck slide guitar instrumental with echoes of Leo Kottke and From Boston to Dublin is a beautifully crafted ballad constructed around the Ulysses myth."
- Bruce Elder, The Sydney Morning Herald, Australia, 1995

"This a good album. It's got everything - great guitar playing, fine singing, well-written songs and simple, elegant production. Brooks Williams is a guitarist's guitarist, a great bottleneck slide player who generously lists the guitar tuning of each song along with the lyrics. 

Like Leo Kottke and few others, Willams is both an excellent rootsy guitar player - capable of doing justice to an old blues like "You Don't Know My Mind" which is thankfully included here - as well as an excellent songwriter and singer, with a gentle voice similar to James Taylor's, ideal in an acoustic guitar setting. His songs are imaginative and evocative: "Monterey Pines" easily connects human nature with nature itself, exploring the primal part of ourselves that is reflected in the mystery of the natural world. He touches on myths both ancient and modern. In 'From Boston To Dublin" he refers to the sirens of the Odyssey, while in '~Caves Of Missouri" he covers the legend of Jesse James eluding the authorities by hiding in the Missouri caves, looking toward an underground river of spirituality for freedom. It all ends with a wonderfully swampy instrumental tribute to the Southern novelist Walker Percy, followed by a jubilant version of the blues classic "This World Is Not My Home," as joyful in its acknowledgment of mortality as the Dixieland conclusion to a New Orleans funeral. 

Though it was recorded entirely in Canada, this is an album that is very much about America, about American music, myths and fears. The production is understated and intimate, creating a warmth that is especially welcome on long winter nights. "
- Paul Zollo, SingOut! Magazine

"On his sixth album, Williams' intelligent yet soulful songwriting and dazzling guitar work are Unobscured by needless production extras. His Southern-tinged tenor, which is reminiscent of James Taylor and David Wilcox, can be heard stretching out on the bluesy "Rotterdam Bar". The title track features guitar accompaniment straight out of the John Martyn school of hammer-ons and pull-offs. Boasting a dozen songs and four instrumentals, Knife Edgeis a substantial work from an artist ready for a much larger audience. (Green Linnet, 43 Beaver Brook Rd., Danbury, CT 06810)"
-James Jensen, Acoustic Guitar Magazine