By Will Yannacoulias
Photo courtesy Stephen Williams
There’s an old expression that “the Shoemaker Has No Shoes”, applied when an expert craftsman exerts all his time and energy into doing work for others and overlooks himself. Prince Albert musician Stephen Williams has for years been that proverbial shoemaker. Williams has performed and recorded with a score of different bands and songwriters, lending his skills as a multi-instrumentalist to a myriad of projects either with friends or through his joint venture Reservoir Recording. Friends, collaborators and bandmates are excited to see Williams preparing to release his own music under the banner South West Music, having recently completed an album of nine original songs he’s been holding close to his chest for years now. The first single from the forthcoming album, “Always On The Run”, was released to YouTube with a lyric video Tuesday. Williams spoke to NSMZ about the single, the album and the nervous excitement of finally sharing his brand of guitar-driven singer /songwriter alt-country.
The album was recorded with longtime friend and collaborator Joel Rohs at Tri Sonic Studio in Prince Albert. Initial recording of the album started in late May, and finished up just this month, but Williams has had these songs quietly tucked away for years. “Some of them go back six years” he shared. “I’ve always thought there was something special about having these songs to myself, but Joel has really inspired me to get my songs out there. It feels really good to do this, I should have been doing it a long time ago.” Williams explained that the project grew into a full length album, starting out as him sending Rohs a video casually performing a song. “We were originally going to just release a single, then we planned a few songs on an EP, and eventually it turned into a full length album.”
Williams is an impressive multi-instrumentalist and a constant musical collaborator, so it’s no surprise that the forthcoming album features his guitar, electric bass, standup bass and organ chops as well as contributions from bandmates and friends. “I played a lot of the instruments myself” Williams elaborated. “I got Ian Dickson to play drums on some tracks and Zachary Kerr to play on others, depending on whose style I thought best suited the song. Ryan Spracklin plays fiddle on “He’s All Right” and Joel plays a lot of guitar and some electric bass on there too. I wanted to include my friends as much as possible.”
Be sure to catch South West Music as Stephen Williams and friends take the stage at the E.A. Rawlinson Center November 19th to support Zachary Lucky’s “Songs For Hard Times” tour. Tickets available at www.earc.ca/zachary-lucky