There are family names and there are family names. And in the world of Country music, no family name carries more weight than the Williams name. But Holly Williams – granddaughter of Hank Sr., daughter of Hank Jr. and half-sister of Hank III – is forging her own path in lieu of resting on the laurels of those who preceded her. The Nashville-based singer/songwriter owns her own label (Georgiana Records) as well as owning an upscale clothing boutique (H. Audrey) in addition to recording and touring. In February, Williams released the 11-track collection The Highway and she will perform at Workplay Theatre on Thursday, October 17. Rayland Baxter opens the 8 p.m. show. Recently, we caught up with Williams by phone from Austin, Texas.
Brent Thompson: Holly, thanks for your time. If you will, please talk about The Highway. Were these mostly newer songs or had some been around for awhile?
Holly Williams: It was mostly brand new. In the fall of 2011, I started writing a bit. I had split ways from my old label and management company and I got married and got domestic real quick. I wrote “Drinkin’” first and a song called “Happy” and then “Waiting On June.” When I had “Drinkin’” and “Waiting On June,” it really felt like a core was starting to build. I went into the studio with five songs, so it was very much of a writing process during recording. The album was actually done before [the song] “The Highway” came on there. I wrote that song one night at a gas station and that was the story of where I was in my head. So that song came on and it was done.
BT: It seems like Nashville is booming more than ever right now – is that a fair statement?
HW: Oh, yeah, completely. It’s just crazy. Neighborhoods like East Nashville and The Gulch are exploding. I hope we never get to Atlanta in terms of traffic. Nashville’s still small enough and it’s an amazing time to be there. We’ve got the mainstream Country artists and we’ve got Kings of Leon and The Black Keys and all kinds of different music coming out of there.
BT: How do you deal with your family legacy and family name?
HW: I totally embrace it. I think with my third album things have kind of smoothed-out if you will. In the beginning, you get people who think that you’re just doing it for your name, but I didn’t put on a cowboy hat and sign a mainstream Nashville record deal. As soon as people saw that I was doing this my own way, they started to realize that I was doing this for real and not for the family. It’s not really a pro or a con – is it what it is.
Tickets are $12 – $15 day of the show – and can be purchased at www.workplay.com