R. S. Williams

All I want is to get the words right.

Hillside Monday: 12/22/14

2014-10-24 18.44.47-1COPY

“Hillside Neighborhood Watch, Street Level”
LaGrange, Georgia – 24 October 2014

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Stop, Drop, and—What?

OurPastorIsOnFire_2014-12-15 14.27.37-1COPY

Northern Troup County, Georgia – 15 December 2014

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

The Face of Mayhem

2014-09-26 12.19.33

LaGrange, Georgia – 26 September 2014

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Winter Windows

2014-12-17 14.26.37

LaGrange, Georgia – 17 December 2014

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

After the Harvest

Ten thousand starlings cover the orchard floor—a green-purple-bronze carpet delivered six weeks too late. Pecan branches arch in rough cathedral peaks against the weeping sky. Muddy footprints fill with broken hulls, with lost feathers, with rain.

None of this brings you back.

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Wednesday Photo: 12/17/14

2014-12-09 19.40.03

“Evening Sky, Roopville”
Carroll County, Georgia – 9 December 2014

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Hillside Monday: 12/15/14

2014-03-16 13.41.48

“Saucer Magnolia and Sky, First Avenue”
LaGrange, Georgia – 16 March 2014

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Honest Oliver

2014-12-12 14.54.27

Heard County, Georgia – 27 November 2014

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Beauty Leaves a Stain

2014-12-08 12.47.50

LaGrange, Georgia – 6 December 2014

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Back to the Soul: Making Grayson Hugh’s New Album Happen

I hadn’t been on Facebook all that long when I began following Grayson Hugh. Back in the late ’80s and early ’90s, I adored his work, and thank goodness he was still making excellent records in 2013. Liking his artist page was natural. I expected I’d see the latest album and show news, a holiday post now and again—the stuff you’d normally see on a celebrity’s social media page (read: boring, canned, written by a PR wonk).

But then award show season arrived, and I found myself snort-laughing at his commentary on all the red-carpet foolery. The back-and-forth with his loyal fans was far funnier than anything the show writers had thought up. He had a sharp, well-read sense of humor grounded not just in extensive pop cultural knowledge, but in literature from Shakespeare to Ralph Ellison and beyond.

The best part? This was no media relations person behind a nationally-known musician’s Facebook page. No, this was Grayson himself. “This guy knows what he’s doing,” I said. “He knows social media’s about relationships, about ongoing conversation. Most people don’t get that.” It warmed my cold, cynical little heart.

A few months later, I opened up Facebook to see a bunch of new Likes on a short creative nonfiction piece I’d posted—”37205,” a piece about the cold, eerie sounds of an ice storm in Nashville, Tennessee. Thirteen likes; one was from Grayson Hugh. I sat stunned for a moment, then ran back and forth through the house Doppler-squeeing with glee, scaring the cats out of at least three lives each. When I texted my sister a screenshot of the Like list, she called me to Doppler-squee all the way from Denver. Goofy, yes, and true.

That was October 2013. Since then, I’ve gotten to know Grayson, and am happy to say that he’s one of the kindest, most interesting, and most talented people I’ve ever met. Not many of us can keep creating over several decades without getting stale—and I hope Gray will eventually clue me in on how he does that, how he keeps every album fresh and solid and unpredictable and damn good. I’d also like to point out that he’s an amazing prose writer, in addition to his incredible verse- and music-writing skills. I’ve met only a handful of songwriters over the years who wield that kind of power.

His upcoming album, Back to the Soul, starts production in Charleston, South Carolina, in early 2015. With a week or so left in his Indiegogo campaign, he’s looking to get this independent record fully funded. There are wonderful perks available at every level—from a signed CD, to a picnic with Gray and his wife/harmony singer Polly Messer, to a one-on-one songwriting lesson, to a backyard concert.

I’m proud to call such a fine artist and person my friend, and to play a small part in making this album a reality. While we’ve done pretty well so far, we’re not quite to the full fundraiser goal, and we have just until December 15 to fully fund the project.

So come on and join us! Click here to find out more and contribute—and thank you so much for supporting Back to the Soul. 

 

Wednesday Photo: 12/10/14

CMHOF_LobbyFloor_June2008Copy

End-cut wood parquet floor, Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Nashville, Tennessee – June 2008

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Exam Week Solace

2014-12-08 10.41.56

LaGrange, Georgia – 6 December 2014

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Hillside Monday: 12/8/14

2014-12-07 18.26.38

“Metal Roof and Storm”
LaGrange, Georgia – 23 November 2014

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Pink, Orange, Gold, Gray

2014-12-04 20.53.55

Carroll County, Georgia – 4 December 2014

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Wednesday Photo: 12/3/14

2014-11-30 18.29.22

“Leaves, Water, Wire, Sky”
Heard County, Georgia – 27 November 2014

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Hillside Monday: 12/1/14

2014-10-24 18.55.29-1

“Creeping Color”
LaGrange, Georgia – 24 October 2014

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Ella at Sunset

2014-11-28 18.33.41

LaGrange, Georgia – 25 November 2014

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Art Is Where You Find It #3

2014-07-01 10.03.56

Acrylic, latex, oil, ink, watercolor, and string on enameled concrete
Drawing studio, LaGrange College Department of Art

LaGrange, Georgia – 1 July 2014

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

 

Back to the Soul: Because great music matters

Each semester, my students take on the challenge of writing a critique essay. “Believe it or not,” I tell them, “you already know how to critique. You listen to music. You know your standards for what makes a good album and what makes an awful one. That’s the beginning of a meaningful critique.” Let me reassure you: Today’s first-year college students know quality music. Their All-Time Best Album lists always impress me.

What gives me the most hope, though, is how much they appreciate independent artists’ work. As a former student explains, “Excellent music isn’t dead. You just have to know where to find it. Some of the best stuff out right now is from artists staying true to themselves, artists raising money to make records on their own terms.”

And that’s exactly what my friend Grayson Hugh is doing.

When I first heard his music back in the late ‘80s (“Talk It Over” and “Bring It All Back,” in particular), I called it “blue-eyed soul.” Since then, Grayson’s work has combined many different influences: country, blues, folk, funk, jazz, gospel. Most compelling, though, are his lyrics. “North Ohio,” from his 2010 album An American Record, breaks my heart. The rest of the album glues it back together.

For his upcoming album, Back to the Soul, Grayson returns to his R&B-soul-funk roots—and, with our help, it’s going to be one amazing record. We all long for thoughtful, heartfelt, original music. Now we have a chance to make it happen.

To read more, to share, or to contribute, click here. There are great perks available at every level.

If you care about heartfelt, meaningful, original music—and the people who create it!—I hope you’ll join Grayson on the fascinating journey of creating a new, original album.

Text © R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

Wednesday Photo: 11/26/14

2014-11-06 16.37.22

“Bank Building Façade #1″
Meansville, Georgia – 6 November 2014

© R. S. Williams (all rights reserved)

« Older posts

© 2014 R. S. Williams

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑