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Holly Williams

Here With Me – 2009 (Mercury)

Reviewed by C. Eric Banister

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CDs by Holly Williams

With a lineage like Holly Williams', it would be expected that there be some reference to her family on her sophomore album. And it's there, too, but maybe not as upfront or in-your-face as the family mentions of her half-brother Hank III or her daddy Hank Jr. Mama, is a thank you note to her mother for letting her develop her own relationship with her father instead of pushing her own thoughts on her daughters. Let Her Go is to her father as he struggles to let his daughter fly the nest. Williams' skill here is in making these specific songs relatable to a wider audience.

As might also be expected from a member of the William's clan, she writes or co-writes 8 of the 11 songs. One of the most personal and best written is Without Jesus Here With Me, written about the 2006 car accident that put both Holly and her sister Hilary in critical condition.

For the remaining songs, Williams picks a couple from some of Nashville's best songwriters and the album closing ballad by rocker Neil Young. The propulsive Keep The Change, written by Hillary Lindsey and Luke Laird, serves as the first single and gives Williams an Americana spin, while the solemn tone of Gone With The Morning Sun, written by Sarah Buxton, Tom Bukovac and Greg Vorobiov, allows her to stretch her vocals on a beautifully simple melody.

"Here With Me" is an excellent new album from an artist who many feel has a lot to live up to, but bloodline aside, Williams is doing just fine on her own.