John’s Blues Picks Jan 2016 – Tim Williams
Tim Williams So Low (LowdenProud) | Tim Williams website
The ‘So Low’ is a take off on ‘solo’. Calgary’s Tim Williams performs that way most of the time and decided it was time to record that way – all his previous discs had varying groups of accompanists, one had a full band. As one of our premier blues performers, such a project is not to be taken lightly – if superb country blues is your forte, get this one any way you can.
You can also read along as you listen as he tells of playing with Mose Allison (“If You Love”), or his own “More Peppers In Your Chili”, not all his tunes are serious. The mandolin-accompanied “My Big Money” by Big Bill Broonzy is a treat and he switches to slide for “Anywhere c/o The Blues”, a three-minute summation of his life in the blues – simply marvellous. Back to acoustic for Blind Boy Fuller’s “Pistol Snapper” and then to slide again for Tampa Red’s “The Witching Hour”. He learned “The Grizzly Bear” from Geoff Muldaur, it’s a blues titled after a dance craze in the early 1900’s, Williams plays a 12-string guitar on this one. He’s on slide for “Big River”, a Johnny Cash song, making a mockery of music categories along the way. “Midnight After Midnight” is a new song that popped out after playing some Lonnie Johnson, and with his note this becomes apparent, without it, it is simply a strong original song. The connection in the last song is more obvious as Williams pays tribute to a major influence, Lightnin’ Hopkins. He even adds the reverb that was an integral part of those old Hopkins 78s.
Williams has absorbed countless songs & styles since starting out in coffeehouses in California in the mid-sixties and the results of that journey are clearly apparent here. As you can see from his web site, www.cayusemusic.com, he mostly plays near his long time home in Calgary these days but we have this new disc to listen to until he travels here again. He did venture forth to the International Blues Challenge last year and placed first in the solo category. Congratulate him by buying this disc and marvel at a bluesman at work.