Christopher Williams

Christopher Williams

Side Streets Live

Big Red Van

Christopher Williams is one of the many hard-working, ever-playing singer-songwriters out there who constantly tour the country, visiting every club that’ll have him. And it has paid off well. Not only has he earned himself a loyal fan-base, he has also honed his songwriting and performing craft, and at its best, this release captures just that remarkably well. Williams’ fluid and convincing delivery shows an artist that’s content at the place he’s arrived at, and the audience — a hometown crowd from his local Club Passim — shows their loving appreciation between numbers, while barely making a sound during the songs.

Williams’ sound is lush and gentle, his playing and delivery is restrained and confident. He’s brought along a band of two — on bass, guitars, and dobro — but this is entirely his show (or shows — the album is recorded during several visits to Club Passim), and on several tracks he’s on his own, all attention focused on his strong, laid-back vocals. For all his brilliance and plain craftsmanship, however, not all of the songs manage to live up to his powerful delivery, some of them too unremarkable for their own good. At his best, though, he shines both as a songwriter and a performer, such as on the lovely “Ever After,” new track “End of the Tunnel” — on which he accompanies himself on only a djembe hand-held drum, a splendid idea in this format that helps to add variation to his sound — and the poignant “Never Wrong.”

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