CMT LISTEN UP - 2021
“As the son of Hank Williams, Jr., Sam Williams inherited the gift of wondrous countrylyricism and a vocal talent that his father believes is best in the family.” (CMT) With astriking tone and poetic approach to songwriting, Williams is poised to leave his ownlegacy on Country Music, unafraid to push his own creative limits and break through theself-inflicted limitations that threaten the genre as a whole. In the words of his lategrandfather Hank, “to sing like a hillbilly, you had to have lived like a hillbilly. You had tohave smelt a lot of mule manure.” Sam jokes, “I haven’t done that so why would I try.”
Inspired by “the new Nashville” with artists like Maren Morris, Margo Price, TylerChilders, Ruston Kelly and more blurring genre lines, the CMT “Indie You Need ToKnow” feels it’s his time to share what he’s been working on to forge his own path, witha bit of grit and rebellion for good measure. Influenced by artists from Billie Eilish to Dolly Parton, his sister Holly Williams to Drake, it’s easy to see why so many have beenkeeping a close watch on him in anticipation of what’s to come.
Born in Nashville in the season of the Gemini and raised on Highway 79 in Paris, TN,Williams cared more about sports than he did following in his father’s footsteps. Now 22,he’s found himself using poetry and songwriting as therapy to get out the things heneeds to say, important to him that it’s straight from the heart. He attended Belmont University for 2.5 years studying Entertainment Industry before deciding to leave to pursue his music.
In 2016, he released his debut single “Darkwater” showcasing his funky folk sound anda whole lotta’ blues. He followed up with “The Lost Grandchild’s Plea” in 2018, an ode tohis grandparents he never knew, Hank and Audrey Williams. His sister Hilary has said“people call us the Country Kennedys, because of all the trauma that has happened inthe Williams family. We’re fighters and survivors.”
Williams has a global publishing and artist development deal with Get It Done Music Entertainment (Missi Gallimore / Gary Borman) & Kobalt. He’s collaborated with writers Lori McKenna, Shawn Camp, Dan Tyminski, Jim Lauderdale, Mary Gauthier and more, penning over 40 songs in the past year. He’s played a handful of shows across the country, some appearances opening for the likes of Corey Smith and Frank Foster. Looking ahead, he’s excited for what’s to come and for the own torch he’s sure to carry,not allowing anyone to put it out. Williams released “Gemini,” co-written with Jaida Dreyer (Reba, Sunny Sweeney, Luke Bryan) and released on June 21, the last day of Gemini season. The track has been praised by Rolling Stone, Sounds Like Nashville,The Boot and more.As a follow up to “Gemini,” Williams released his reimagination of “Weatherman,”produced by Tommy Cecil (Reba, Kane Brown, Jake Owen).The song was originally released by his father, Hank Williams, Jr. in 1981.
Williams shares, “It’s a bit scary to record a song from within my family’s catalog. Thereare so many songs that resonate in my soul and ‘Weatherman’ is definitely one of them.I’m so glad it’s my first cover. My dad was pressured into covering his father’s songs foryears, but I was able to get his blessing to put on wax what means a lot to me. Thissong is timeless and updating it with a new Williams voice, perspective and life ingeneral is very special. Special for me, special for my family and hopefully special forcountry music in general.” Last fall, Williams acted as direct opener to Cam on the “Oh, The Places We’ll Go”European tour. The eight-date run kicked off in Belfast, Ireland on September 1 andjourneyed across the UK, France, Germany, and The Netherlands.Recently, Williams has been in the studio with Jaren Johnston (The Cadillac Three, TimMcGraw, Thomas Rhett) working on his next project, which is to be released in 2020.