MEDIA ROOM

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Short Blurb (100 words)
Brooks Williams is “quite simply one of the most unassuming, natural performers on the circuit, and his easy, relaxed manner conceals the greatest level of true expertise” (Fatea). A Statesboro, Georgia native now living in England, Williams’ Americana and country blues style is unmistakably his own. A guitarist’s guitarist (Top 100), and a soulful singer (Spiral Earth), RnR says his songs are “imbued with uplifting generosity” with “a gift for illustrating human connections.” In 2020, celebrating 30-years in music, Williams brought out his 29th recording. Called Work My Claim, it is “a career-defining statement, an important legacy and a lifetime achievement” (Blues Matters).

Long Press Release
It’s funny how the harder someone works, the luckier they seem to be. If that's the case Brooks Williams is very lucky.

A thirty-year veteran of the road with twenty-nine albums to his name, Williams “is at the top of his game,” says Blues In Britain. “It is pure talent, hard work and relentless touring which has brought him to the pinnacle of his career.”

He seamlessly brings together Americana and country blues in a style that is unmistakably his own. He is a flashy fingerpicker, soaring bottleneck slide player and soulful singer who writes great songs and interprets the roots repertoire like no one else. The groove he sets up on his battered Atkin J-43 is second-to-none in acoustic music. The jewel in the crown is he is also a phenomenal performer who puts on a great show, one that is multifaceted, fast-paced, complete with humour and just the right amount of pathos. He can read an audience like no one’s business.

Right time, right place. Brooks Williams left Georgia at nineteen for Boston USA, ostensibly to go to Berklee School of Music (which never really happened). Instead, he found Harvard Square coffeehouses, North Shore bars and audiences hungry for acoustic singer-songwriter music. That music scene lit a fire in the heart of many a guitar-toting singer, including Williams, who traded a fiddle and a couple cheap guitars for a ‘real’ acoustic guitar (in this case the industry ‘workhorse,’ a Martin D-28). His on-the-job training occurred in real-time, playing 4-5 nights a week supporting the likes of Nanci Griffith, Chris Smither, Leo Kottke, Shawn Colvin, David Bromberg, Cheryl Wheeler, Taj Mahal, Rory Block, Greg Brown, Tom Rush, and Maria Muldaur, to name but a few.

He developed a following one fan at a time, as the saying goes, by gigging all the time. He still does, touring at a dizzying pace and performing more than two hundred shows a year. On top of that he has released pretty much an album a year on a variety of labels including Green Linnet, Silo, Reveal Records and Signature Sounds. To date there are twenty-nine albums to his name including Work My Claim (2020), Lucky Star (2018), Knife Edge (1996), State of the Union (2011), and Little Lion (2000). 

His first album, North From Statesboro, was released in 1990. It received a glowing review from The Washington Post which inspired National Public Radio to invite Williams to Washington, DC to do an on-air interview with presenter Noah Adams. The interview was broadcast during drive-time from coast-to-coast and that’s where it all began.

With that interview as a spring-board, Williams toured in ever-widening circles across the USA and up into Canada, with appearances at the Birchmere in Greater Washington, DC, Freight and Salvage in Berkeley, CA, Newport Folk Festival, Winnipeg Folk Festival, and the Philadelphia Folk Festival.

Shortly thereafter he began his first tours to the UK, which is where he now resides, with performances at Cropredy Festival, Shrewsbury Folk Festival, Cambridge Folk Festival as well as pretty much any acoustic venue you can name. From there he went to Europe appearing in France, Italy, Sardinia, The Netherlands, Belgium, Austria, and Germany, including the Blues Au Chateau Festival, Topos Jazz Club and The Blue Room Sessions. 

When he’s not touring solo, duo or trio, he is collaborating with the likes of Boo Hewerdine (the two have an on-going duo called State of the Union), Hans Theessink, Rab Noakes, Sloan Wainwright, Jim Henry,  and Guy Davis. WUMB-Boston named him one of their Top 100 All-Time Artists. He’s also listed in the Top 100 Acoustic Guitarists and Top Vocalist as nominated by Spiral Earth. Brooks’ Blues (2017) is in Down At The Crossroads’ Top 20 Blues Albums of All-Time.

In 2020, for his 30th Anniversary, Williams has recorded an album of his favourite songs from his back catalogue. Called Work My Claim, the songs reach across the span of years. The recording features some of Brooks’ musician friends including John McCusker (Mark Knopfler, McCusker McGoldrick and Doyle, Heidi Talbot), Christine Collister (Richard Thompson, Daphne’s Flight), Jim Henry (Eliza Gilkyson, Tracy Grammer, The Boxcar Lillies), Aaron Catlow (Yola Carter, Sheelanagig, Hawes & Catlow) and Phil Richardson (Claypath).

Brooks Williams’ sound is as deep and as wide as any you are likely to hear. He is the quintessential triple-threat: he plays a mean guitar (his solo chops sound like he has a guitarist or two backing him up), sings with a chocolate baritone (that you just “melt into”), and writes hook-laden songs (that stick with you like an ‘ear worm’). Guitarist Martin Simpson sums it up by saying, “He’s a lovely player, a lovely singer, and a great writer. Brooks Williams is the real thing.”


Quotes

"At the top of his game, setting new standards and a fresh direction for the blues." Blues In Britain 

"It might have been a lucky star which brought Brooks Williams to UK shores, but it is pure talent, hard work and relentless touring which has brought him to the pinnacle of his career. "   Dave Scott, Blues Bytes

"With “Lucky Star,” Brooks Williams showcases his recent forays into a bluesier sound with a most excellent set of songs that blend country blues and traditional folk sounds.  Hey y’all—Brooks Williams rides again!"   Don and Sheryl Crow, Nashville Blues Society

"His soothing well-oiled vocals are sweet without affectation. Yet his blues-drenched guitar has grizzle and tough knowledge."  The Boston Herald 

“How soulful a solo guitarist can be when he has talent, taste and astonishing technique.” Blues Revue  

“Deft, tasteful guitar chops.” Rolling Stone   

"Brooks Williams would undoubtedly be hailed as one of the acoustic guitar gods of our time were he not also such a sweet singer and smart songwriter."  The Boston Globe

"Sublime, no nonsense, rhythmic roots." R2 

"In person and on record, his passion for musical discovery and his joy at sharing those discoveries make Brooks Williams a one-of-a-kind artist. Brooks Williams is a journey agent of the highest order. Enjoy the trip!"   Bob McWilliams, Host,"Trail Mix", Kansas Public Radio 

"Williams couldn't play a more appropriate acoustic guitar if he tried. His guitar sounds glorious and full-bodied - what is that thing?"  Guitar Player 

"If Pete Seeger is right, and the answer to world peace is music, Brooks Williams would make a great choice for ambassador."  Sing Out!

"Stop. Look. And above all listen."  The Village Voice 

"The real thing." Martin Simpson 

"Top Banana!" (No Bones Jones, Green Trader Award, Glastonbury Festival 2010) 

"Soulful Americana, full-on blues, and tasty rootsy grooves." fRoots 

"He's a true master of everything guitar, from acoustic to slide to electric to resonator, nylon-string to arch-top to cigar-box!" Fatea 

"Williams is not only an excellent story teller, he’s not afraid of using a melody." Rocking Magpie 

"Like a more upbeat Bruce Cockburn - from an artist who only gets better with every release."  Mojo 

"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 

 “Top 100 All-time Artists” WUMB-FM, Boston USA 

“Melodic virtuosity on the guitar that runs like liquid from his fingers.”  The Irish News 

 

Selected Venue & Festival Highlights

Freight & Salvage - Berkeley, CA
The Tin Angel - Philadelphia, PA
Godfrey Daniels - Bethlehem, PA
Hooker Dunham Theater - Brattleboro, VT
Calvin College - Grand Rapids, MI
Pioneer Arts Center - Easthampton, MA
Kerrville Folk Festival - Kerrville, TX
Philadelphia Folk Festival - PA
Club Passim - Cambridge, MA
The Old Town School of Folk Music - Chicago, IL
Haverhill Arts Center - England
The Borderline - London, England
Cambridge Folk Club - England
Royal Hall - North Yorkshire, England
Music Hall - Aberdeen, Scotland
Queen's Hall - Edinburgh, Scotland
Eccles Auditorium - Logan, UT
The Stables - Milton Keynes, England
Seattle Folklore Society - Seattle, WA
Swallow Hill - Denver, CO
The Palms - Davis, CA
The Roxy - Boston, MA
The Towne Crier - Pawling, NY
The Bottom Line - New York, NY
The Iron Horse - Northampton, MA
Fiddle & Bow - Winston Salem, NC
Cactus Cafe - Austin, TX
The Bluebird Cafe - Nashville, TN
The Birchmere - Alexandria, VA
Uncle Calvin's Coffeehouse - Dallas, TX
The Ark - Ann Arbor, MI
Eddie's Attic - Atlanta, GA
Black Rose Acoustic Music Society, Colorado Springs, CO

 

 

Evanston Space - Evanston, IL
Colonial Theatre - Keene, NH
Gottagetgon Festival - New York
Center for the Arts - Natick, MA
Wildflower Festival -  Richardson, TX
Fairport's Cropredy Convention - England
Glastonbury Festival - England
The Green Note - London, England
Birmingham Intl. Jazz and Blues Festival - England
Mountain Spirit Coffeehouse - Asheville, NC
Baldwin's Station - Sykesville, MD
Avalon Theatre - Easton, MD
Washington University - St. Louis, MO
Lebanon Opera House - Lebanon, NH
New Bedford Folk Festival - New Bedford, MA
Swannanoa Gathering - Asheville, NC
The Turning Point - Piermont, NY
Ely Folk Festival - England
Maverick Festival - England
Shrewsbury Festival - England
The Folklore Centre - Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
Dalhousie University - Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada
The Bull Run - Shirley, MA
Caffe Lena - Saratoga Springs, NY
The Rogue Folk Club - Vancouver, BC, Canada
Guitar Stars Festival - Toronto, Ontario, Canada
Winnipeg Folk Festival - Manitoba, Canada
Belfast Folk Festival - Northern Ireland
Ben & Jerry's Newport Folk Festival - Rhode Island
Boston Folk Festival - Boston, MA
Cornerstone Festival -  Bushnell, Illinois
Edinburgh Folk Festival - Scotland
Falcon Ridge Folk Festival - Hillsdale, New York