- Ward Williams releases his self-titled debut album this week
w/ Steve Fiore, Jon Black
Sat. April 15
1055 Johnnie Dodds Blvd.
Guitarist, cellist, and vocalist Ward Williams, a Charleston resident for 12 years, is best known in the Carolinas for his years in the recently-split local band Jump. This week, he celebrates the official release of his debut solo album.
Williams and his current backing band — drummer Evan Bivins (also of Jump), guitarist Lee Barbour, and Ash Hopkins — have a local CD release show scheduled at the Village Tavern on April 15.
The 12-song, self-titled collection of "country-tinged roots-rock and pop-rock" — engineered by Hopkins at the local Rebellion Road studio — will be available in Charleston stores on Wed. April 12.
CITY PAPER: Were you planning to record your own songs for a while, or did Jump's recent split help facilitate this new solo effort?
WARD WILLIAMS: I started writing songs again in 2003 and got the idea that I'd like to do a solo record then, regardless of what Jump was doing. I got some recording equipment in 2004 and was hoping to have it all finished by the end of '05. I'm happy it's coming out now.
CITY PAPER: How would you describe the style and sound of the music on this album?
WW: I started out thinking I was gonna be alt-country. That country element is there, but the cello gives it a little classical sauce. I think the rest is basic pop-rock.
CITY PAPER: Some of the lyrics seem to take aim at some melancholic sentiments: troublesome relationships, a bit of heartbreak, a hint of insecurity. How difficult or easy is it to step up as the lead vocalist and sing about these things?
WW: I think the thing I'm proudest of about this record is its honesty. I really can't comment on whether it's good, bad or indifferent in a songwriting or musical sense. What I can say is that it's definitely heartfelt and definitely me. I don't know why it's easier for me to write about difficult emotions than happier ones. I'm mostly a pretty upbeat guy, so I guess when I'm in a funk, it gets my attention more, and is thus more easy to write about. It was initially nerve-wracking for me to get up and sing about how girls don't like me, but the more I did, the more girls started liking me, so I highly recommend it!
CITY PAPER: Tell us about the band on the recording and on stage during this month's tour.
WW: Evan Bivins played drums on all of the tracks that have drums. Ash Hopkins did bass guitar, as well as some acoustic and electric guitars and organ. He'll be with me the whole tour. Most of the rest of the instruments were played by me. However, on "Out on my Own," which was written about Jump's retirement, all of Jump, Little Children are playing. I thought that was cool and poetic and stuff. I'm not going to try to put together a full-time band just yet, so I guess it will be a rotating cast of characters for a while.