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just get more interesting as they get older (because) thereâ€™s more history in them â€” he was there to catch that. So if I was having a good day vocally, that really showed up in the final product. Thatâ€™s what I wanted. So that for me was true comfort.â€ť
After making her 2000 album, The Green World, Williams realized that she had been too controlling in the studio and was doing too much to orchestrate and guide the recording process.
On 2003â€™s The Beauty Of The Rain, she stepped back somewhat, giving her co-producers more of a voice in the proceedings and also encouraging the musicians on that album to bring more of their personalities and styles to their playing.
Williams continued to practice that approach on the 2005 CD, My Better Self, but feels that she was even more openminded in making Promised Land. â€śThis was a fulfillment of that understanding that I got from working with all of these great musicians, that actually I need to step back,â€ť she says.
â€śUnless you really want to go in there with a dot-to-dot blueprint where thereâ€™s no freedom and thereâ€™s just execution, itâ€™s actually much better for an album spiritually to let people kind of go into how they feel the music as well as how they execute it. So yeah, I absolutely let them (Wood and the musicians) in on songs and I absolutely applied that this time, even when it was feeling a little counter-intuitive.â€ť
After starting her career in a decidedly Folk setting on the 1994 album The Honesty Room and 1996â€™s Mortal City, Williams began to shift toward a broader sonic palette on The Green World that emphasized fuller arrangements and more of a Pop dimension.
Promised Land fits comfortably alongside her most recent albums. A few songs have a stronger Rock edge, including the brisk album-opening â€śItâ€™s Alrightâ€ť and â€śGo to the Woods.â€ť And while the rhythm tracks are a bit more assertive on other songs like â€śThe Easy Wayâ€ť and â€śBuzzer,â€ť these tunes still strike an appealing balance between Pop and Folk as Williams showcases her familiar ability to craft graceful melodies. There are also quieter songs, such as â€śYou Are Everyoneâ€ť and â€śHolly Treeâ€ť that connect this album directly back to Williamsâ€™ folkier roots.
What will sound different is Williamsâ€™ live sound on her first run of dates to promote Promised Land. Having toured in recent years with a full band and in a solo acoustic format, Williams this fall is performing in a trio with keyboardist Bryn Roberts and percussionist Everett Bradley. The format, she said, lends itself to a wide variety of sonic settings.
â€śIâ€™ve been hearing my friends playing with these incredible trios,â€ť Williams says. â€śItâ€™s a little more theatrical than a band because itâ€™s a little bit more unusual.
Thereâ€™s a lot of power.â€ť Â©