Sam Williams’ ‘Glasshouse Children’ Album Isn’t Hank Williams’ Country

When Hank Williams Jr. started his music profession within the Sixties, he did little to distance himself from the shadow forged by his monumental father. He launched albums with titles like Songs My Father Left Me, sang “Your Cheatin’ Coronary heart” and “Hey Good Lookin’” in the identical lonesome fashion, and appeared onstage on the Grand Ole Opry, the very establishment that fired his dad in 1952. The stress to mimic Hank Williams and fill the void left by his premature dying at 29 was nice, and it practically swallowed him complete.

Sam Williams, the son of Hank Jr. and grandson of Hank, has no such downside.

On his debut album Glasshouse Kids, he dives headlong into the creation of his personal eclectic fashion, a mixture of synth pop, emo-Americana, and pop-country made with Nashville producers like Jaren Johnston and Paul Moak. The album cowl depicts Williams not in rhinestones however in a shimmering metallic swimsuit, his head coyly cocked. In press photographs, his cheeks are adorned with glittery gold tears. Glasshouse Kids then is the sound and the look of an artist influenced by outdated ghosts, however formed by the aesthetics and experiences of coming of age within the twenty first century.

“I couldn’t make the identical well-known nation albums that you understand of years previous, as a result of I didn’t dwell that particular person’s life,” Williams, 24, tells Rolling Stone. “My grandfather was raised in rural south Alabama within the Nineteen Thirties and earlier than the period of World Conflict II, within the poverty of the South. And I wasn’t. I grew up within the 2000s in west Tennessee, privileged. So I actually attempt to write and sing in regards to the issues that I find out about, that I’m not fabricating in any manner.”

Williams wrote 9 of the album’s 10 tracks, collaborating with songwriters like Dan Auerbach, Brandy Clark, Mary Gauthier, and Daniel Tashian. Some songs, like “Wild Woman” and “10-4,” have hallmarks of polished mainstream nation — pulsing drums, a rapid-fire lyrical supply, shout-outs to Sonic drive-ins — whereas others like “Can’t Fool Your Own Blood” and “Bulleit Blues” are uncooked and ragged. All are threaded via with an underlying disappointment. Even a music titled “Blissful All of the Time,” written with Gauthier and that includes a cameo by Dolly Parton, is something however.

“On the day that I wrote that music, my writer was like, ‘You already know, you write so many unhappy songs, so what if you happen to simply write a contented music?’” Williams says. “After which I despatched ‘Blissful All of the Time.’”

On the suggestion of his supervisor, Williams typed a letter to Parton asking her to contribute to the music and had it handed to the nation music matriarch by a mutual good friend. Parton appreciated the forlorn message — “If cash might purchase happiness/I’d be pleased on a regular basis,” goes the refrain — and agreed to sing concord vocals.

“Once I was writing it, I used to be envisioning a brand new tackle the truth that cash can’t purchase happiness,” Williams says. “If happiness was on Amazon and you may purchase little items of it, what would we spend to really be pleased? I wished to place anecdotal examples in and make it private.” He additionally wished to set it firmly within the current: the lyrics discuss buying and selling Escalades and diamonds for real love and peace of thoughts.


Mary Gauthier, recognized for her personal gut-punch songwriting, co-wrote “Blissful All of the Time” with Williams. She says she was impressed by the singer’s dedication to separate himself from any household privilege.

“Sam is from nation music royalty and he’s very conscious of his lineage and he desires to honor it however not imitate it. He desires to be his personal man,” Gauthier says. “The explanation they put him with me [to write] is as a result of he desires to be, and is, a reality teller. I really like his braveness and I’m honored to assist him articulate what it’s he must say.”

Gauthier was on the Grand Ole Opry when Williams made his Opry debut in 2019 and struck up an unlikely friendship with Hank Williams Jr., who watched his son carry out from the wings. However Sam Williams says any profession recommendation or information that he obtained from his father, notorious for his transition into rowdy Southern rock within the late Seventies and Eighties, occurred by osmosis. “My dad doesn’t actually like to speak about music that a lot. He likes to speak about looking, fishing, steel detecting and wars,” he says.

Nonetheless, Williams admits there are parallels in his journey and that of his father. Whereas he by no means sought to hold on any household custom of his forebears, there was the creeping doubt that he’d be unable to evolve into his personal artist, and even man. He alludes to a few of that within the somber title observe of Glasshouse Kids, a music in regards to the fragility of youth.

“It turns into very straightforward to hold ache, or no matter else that you just’re carrying with you,” he says. “It’s straightforward for that to develop into a significant a part of your identification. And it’s arduous to let go of it and discover out who you’re.”

To Williams, his lineage is a factor to be each confronted and revered. He wore his grandfather’s hat when he made his Opry debut and carried out “Can’t Idiot Your Personal Blood” in a home as soon as owned by Hank Sr. throughout an look on Stephen Colbert’s late-night present. He says comparable gestures could come sooner or later.

“If I wish to cowl or reimagine songs in my household, it’s my proper,” Williams says. “And I positively will. However I wished to begin out with actual songs, actual lyrics, and actual new sounds.”

https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-country/sam-williams-hank-williams-grandson-1226703/ | Sam Williams’ ‘Glasshouse Kids’ Album Is not Hank Williams’ Nation


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