It’s been eight years since my last folk album, but I’m getting close to releasing my latest in Fall 2017. For this album – my seventh in the folk genre – I decided to dig deep into public domain folk and bluegrass lyrics and set those words to new arrangements. I may write my own songs again someday, but for now, I’m really enjoying the process of turning someone else’s old words into new songs.
I picked 10 songs to work on this summer, both in my home studio and in the Lawrence Public Library recording studio. In the meantime, here’s a four-song sampler featuring some of my favorite demos so far. Enjoy!
It’s been eight years since I last performed as a solo folksinger, but on March 31, 2017, I dusted off some of my old tunes and even played a new one for an intimate show at Conroy’s Pub in Lawrence, KS.
It was a surprisingly gratifying experience for me, and I hope to have another opportunity to do it again soon. More than that, though, it got my creative juices flowing and I’ve begun working on a new album of folk songs that I hope to release digitally in Fall 2017. This time, I’ll be working with lyrics from old-time folk songs in the public domain and setting them to my own arrangements. At some point, I may be interested to write new songs from scratch, but for now I’m really enjoying the process of working with great words already written.
The aforementioned “new” song from the recent Conroy’s performance is my arrangement of the old folk standard “Rye Whiskey.” Lyrically, it’s a combination of a few well-known versions, and musically, the new arrangement gives an already timeless song a bit of a contemporary feel, in my opinion. Here’s what it sounded like at Conroy’s:
Before gas tractors plowed the fields, steam traction engines ruled the prairie. Now, the glory days of steam farming live on through the words of the men and women who experienced them firsthand.
These 12 poems, originally submitted to the steam engine enthusiast magazine Iron-Men Album back in the 1950s, have been unearthed and set to original music by Christian Williams. Enjoy this glimpse of a little-known chapter of American history.
Released April 1, 2009. Poems written by Chestor Phalor, Eva K. Anglesburg, Harry Fischback, Ernest Pawson, E.C. Harsch, Helen Virden, Mrs. B.K. Francis, John Kelly, J.F. Loffelmacher, Chas. L. Genter, O.H. Nieman and Mae Baber. Original music composed, performed, and recorded by Christian Williams in Lawrence, KS. Album design and layout by Jeannine Snyder.
A protest-folk autobiography, this album found me applying the moral lessons I’ve learned to combat religious and patriotic fanaticism and the capitalistic way of life. It was my effort to weather the storm by finding shelter in the simple life and personal relationships I value most.
Released November 4, 2008. All words and music composed, performed, and recorded by Christian Williams in Lawrence, KS.
About the journey from one place to the next; how nature carves our path, how fear and trust determine our direction, and how acknowledging our blindness can help us see much clearer.
Released May 1, 2008. All words and music composed, performed and recorded by Christian Williams in Lawrence, KS, except “Troubadour” which features Kristi Henderson on flute; album cover art by Christopher Stewart.
A collection of Gothic yarns, toe-tapping lamentations, and epitaphs. They come from a place where tornadoes reunite lost lovers, where evil men turn into cockroaches, and where the down-and-out still manage to crack a crooked smile and stand with a defiance that only comes when you have nothing left to lose.
Released September 1, 2007. All words and music composed, performed, and recorded by Christian Williams in Lawrence, KS, except the following, which were recorded in Milwaukee, WI: “Summer Breeze” featuring Andrew Hansen on drums, “Henry May” and “PBR & Crackers” featuring Cale Thibaudeau on banjo and harmonica, and “A Winter Away” featuring Cale Thibaudeau on harmonica. Mastered by Joe Frankland (aka Slackeye Slim).
Thirteen songs of gothic country, inspired by mortality, the Book of Revelation, and the dark side of love.
Ranked the Number 1 most essential gothic country album of all-time by the music blog Swedish Embassy of Gothic Country in March 2015. Not sure I agree, considering the other bands on the list, but I’m humbled and honored nonetheless.
Released December 2006. All words and music written, performed, and recorded by Christian Williams; album cover art by Paul Rhyne.