Advance praise for Amanda Colleen Williams’ Appalachia Kid from Alison Bonaguro, country music critic:
Is it possible to inherit the gift of songwriting genius? If your father had a way with words, does that run in the family?
The answer is yes. An absolute, resounding yes. Amanda Colleen Williams is proof that if you’re born and raised by one of Nashville’s most prolific and revered songwriters, you’re bound to end up on that same path to stardom.
And from the sound of the singer-songwriter’s brand new album Appalachia Kid – due out October 29 -- it’s obvious that Amanda picked up where her father left off.
Amanda’s father, the late Kim Williams, is one of the most notable members of the Nashville Songwriter’s Hall of Fame because of what a treasured friend and collaborator he was to all of country music’s biggest stars in the 90s and beyond.
When you start to list all of his timeless hits, you almost run out of ink.
Photo credit Mark DeWitte. Pictured (l to r) Kim Williams and Amanda Colleen Williams
His name rests in the parenthesis next to Randy Travis’ “Three Wooden Crosses,” Garth Brooks’ “Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til the Sun Comes Up),” “It's Midnight Cinderella,” “The Night I Called the Old Man Out,” “She's Gonna Make It” and “Papa Loved Mama,” Kenny Chesney’s “Fall in Love,” Brooks & Dunn’s “Honky Tonk Truth,” Tim McGraw’s “Don’t Make Me Feel at Home,” Joe Diffie’s “If the Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets),” Reba McEntire's "The Heart is a Lonely Hunter,” George Strait’s “All of Me (Loves All of You),” and Rascal Flatts’ “While You Loved Me.”
Williams was there in the writing rooms when all of those works of art – and countless others – were being crafted.
Being raised around that kind of country music must’ve made an indelible impact on the way Amanda has crafted her own songs.
On Appalachia Kid, Amanda’s vocals and quietly acoustic arrangements take you instantly back to a time when those kinds of songs were as pure as they were moving and relatable and inspiring.
Standout tracks include her “Lost Love Saloon,” a haunting heartbreak song that feels like it fell out of her father’s songbook; “History,” where the resonator guitar shines like Williams’ vocals do on the sad truth that we’re all just fleeting moments in someone else’s history; and “Enemy,” a hypnotic melody packed with banjo and mandolin and a savvy kiss off to an ex. The title track, too, paints a vivid picture of growing up off the grid, never meeting strangers or knowing dangers, unless you grew up like she did: as an Appalachia kid.
It’s Amanda’s cover of Garth Brooks’ “Papa Loved Mama,” that lets this generation of Williams talent show another more modernly sonic side of herself. Instead of Brooks’ rapid-fire version, Williams’ is still a fiery cheatin’ song, but slowed down to let the warning in the lyrics sink in a little deeper.
Williams co-wrote 10 of her album’s 12 tracks, and arranged and produced the record along with writer and collaborator Pete Garfinkel.
About Alison Bonaguro -
Alison Bonaguro has been covering country music and the people who make it for the past 15 years.
As one of the most prolific journalists in Nashville, her work has appeared in and on Holler.country, Cowboys & Indians, Chicago Tribune, CMT.com, Playboy, Men’s Health and more. Her memoir, Backstaged: My 15 Years Behind the Scenes In Country Music, is due out in December.