Following three acclaimed albums with The Boat songwriter Tom Williams opted to try something different.
Working on his own, the English artist stripped his music to the core. Mini-album 'New Guitar' was the result, with Tom now able to unveil partner piece 'New House'.
Drenched in folk tones and challenging imagery, sessions were overseen by producer Ian Grimble. Out on October 23rd - pre-order the record on CD or vinyl - it's an intimate, probing return from a songwriter eager to continually challenge himself.
Check it out now, then read Tom Williams' track by track guide to the material.
When we first moved down to Hastings we moved house 4 times in under two years. We lived all over in flats and houses of all shapes and sizes. Dodgy landlords, property repossessions, total nightmares but good song fodder. This was written just after we'd got our first eviction notice because the owners wanted to move back in. Feeling like you've got no where to go is a horrible feeling. Trying to keep my chin up... 'We don't have a house now, but we will soon.'
'In The Snow'
Probably the oldest song on the album. It started as a claustrophobic Elliott Smith style phone demo, and was then even recorded as a big noisy guitar racket but we pulled it right back again on the album sessions. We were joined by the amazing Catherine Black who played cello with Sarah on the recording. The back section on this is one of my favourite moments on the album especially in headphones. It's all creaking doors, screaming foxes and radios being tuned in and out, trying to make a connection.
'Talk Straight To Me'
My family are South African and this was written there in the heat one New Years. I was listening to a lot of Cat Stevens especially 'Tea For The Tillerman'. This was one of the last songs we recorded and the studio was part of a huge church complex in North London. There was an evangelical church next door, which started playing dance music really loudly as we were trying to finish the song! We managed to sneak a good take in between the loud music and the occasional scream or wail from next door.
It struck me one day that nothing bad had happened to me in a while. A dangerous thought, but I expanded it into a rumination on smug youthful rejection of religion. I don't need it now but you never do when times are good do you.
Sat on the sofa one day waiting for a phone call from a big music publisher. Waiting for a deal that would never happen. I like this song because there's no chorus as such, it's just a series of thoughts set to music, laid out in the order that I thought them. I was so lucky because these were the first chords that came to mind, I didn't have to rewrite anything so there's this miraculous feeling about this song. It just appeared fully formed. It's always a special one live. Looking forward to playing it on tour in November.
Maybe my favourite track on the album, and I think my favourite love song I've written, and I've written a lot of late. There's amazing space in the recording and Sarah's piano sounds so beautiful. I always envisioned this being played at a wedding with strings but I worry people might fall asleep. Or I would cry. Or both.
The only cover I've ever released. By an amazing singer and guitar played called Jim Crawford from North Devon. I met Jim in a guitar shop in Kent and then subsequently went to visit him one summer at his house for a guitar lesson with Ant from The Boat. Ant and I became obsessed with this song and it started a fascination with learning how to finger pick like Jim. The album of Jim's you need is called 'When The Rains Came' and you can only buy it off his website. Hunt it down!
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Catch Tom Williams at the following shows:
14 Leeds Brudenell (High & Lonesome Festival)
15 York Basement
16 Manchester Castle
17 Leicester Cookie Jar
18 London London Fields Brewery
19 Oxford Jericho
20 Cardiff Four Bars
21 Stroud Prince Albert