Music > Seven Sisters (1997)
BROOKS WILLIAMS Seven Sisters (Green Linnet):
"This is the best thing Brooks Williams has ever done, and perhaps the singer/songwriter album of the year. With 11 tight tracks and an even tighter backup band, Williams takes us on a roller coaster of moods and emotions. He begins with a two-song mini ecology set consisting of the killer title track and "Mother Earth." Both songs use experiencing nature as the filter that separates bullshit from bliss on life's journey. Williams follows with a three-song heartache set. Funky, chunky bass lines endow "Rich Tonight" with soul, whereas "Nothing at All" is so gentle it bleeds vulnerability, and "Hello Heartbreak" counterpoises frantic guitar with mannered vocals to expose a troubled soul beneath a cool exterior. On "Jane," Williams is upbeat; on "Winter Moon" he builds to a chorus that bathes us in vocal magic. Williams blends his poetic imagery with mind-numbing guitar dexterity. Simply a stunning release. 5 Stars"
-Rob Weir, The Valley Advocate
"Brooks Williams is that rare bird on the contemporary folk scene: like Bill Morrissey and Greg Brown, he is an utter original with an instantly identifiable sound. For over a decade, the Northampton-based singer-songwriter has been cranking out songs and albums brimming with hauntingly memorable images and melodies, and his nimble guitar work - particularly his slide playing - has garnered him considerable fame as an axe-head. His compositions draw from a wide ranging palette of influences - including Celtic folk, jazz, rock and the Delta blues of his native deep South - all filtered through his unique sensibility to create a contemporary, yet timeless brand of new acoustic music with his singular stamp.
Williams' last album, 1995's Knife Edge, was a stark, stunning piece of work that made this critic's year-end Top 10 list. His next album, Seven Sisters - named after the chain of mountains surrounding the Pioneer Valley - is due out on Green Linnet's Redbird imprint in August. An advance listen to it makes instantly clear that Seven Sisters is Williams' most mature, accomplished, striking effort to date. More than just his voice and guitar, Williams' entire persona is up front, where it belongs, on this raw, stripped-down, intimate production, which features just bass, drums and occasional violin behind Williams. Williams never sounded as good as he does on these 11 new songs that instantly grab a listener on both a superficial and a deeper level, and considering how good he's sounded in the past, that's saying an awful lot."
- Seth Rogovoy, The Beat
"An earnest songwriter with more than a touch of the John Gorka/David Wilcox-style contemporary folk flavor, Williams couldn't play more appropriate acoustic guitar if he tried. He nails the perfect strummy zing a la Richie Havens, flatpicks tastefully, and hammers across open-tuned strings nimbly and coolly. Just as importantly, his guitar sounds glorious and full-bodied - what is that thing? - whether he's purveying lap-steel-evoking slide or just Dylanesque med-tempo folk accompaniement. Green Linnett (43 Beaver Brook Rd., Danbury, CT 06810).
-JR, Guitar Player