July 13, 2009 in Features

A little bit country, all Holly

Walter Tunis McClatchy Newspapers
The Spokesman-Review photo

(Full-size photo)

Take a look at the promotion Holly Williams has undertaken since her new album, “Here With Me,” hit stores last month:

She has performed on “The Tonight Show With Conan O’Brien,” played San Francisco’s prestigious Fillmore and received glowing reviews from the New York Times and Chicago Sun-Times – not exactly the flight pattern a country artist normally takes when releasing a record.

But, then, who said Williams is a country artist?

Sure, there is the undeniable heritage to consider. The iconic Hank Williams is her grandfather, the rowdier and rockier Hank Williams Jr. is her dad, and country/metal hybrid Hank III is her half-brother.

“What I do is still singer-songwriter music, though,” Williams says. “So I hope country music has a place for a female singer-songwriter.”

“I mean, there is no Mary Chapin Carpenter, no Emmylou Harris on country radio right now filling that void,” she says. “I would like to do that.

“But I would also still hope to play on a Steve Earle tour and then maybe a Keith Urban tour. At the end of the day, I’m singing these simple songs that I feel can be played to any audience.”

Williams tends to distance herself professionally – but not personally – from her father these days to enforce the stylistic differences in their music.

“Musically, I don’t think there is a role for him to play with my music other than just being a supportive dad,” she says. “We have always kept our musical lives unbelievably separate. …

“Every now and then I’ll get on stage and sing ’Family Tradition’ with him. Mostly though, he’s not giving me any more advice than any father would give their kid.”

The birthday bunch

Actor Patrick Stewart is 69. Actor Robert Forster is 68. Singer-guitarist Roger McGuinn is 67. Actor Harrison Ford is 67. Actor-comedian Cheech Marin is 63. Country singer Louise Mandrell is 55. Actor-director Cameron Crowe is 52. Actor Michael Jace (“The Shield”) is 44. Singer Deborah Cox is 36.

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