Chuck Williams
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Chuck Williams

Marion, Massachusetts, United States | SELF

Marion, Massachusetts, United States | SELF
Band Folk Acoustic

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...singer-songwriter Chuck Williams owes a debt to folkies like James Taylor, but he does enough on 'Lightning In A Bottle' to indicate he’s his own man. Strong songs and a keen delivery are at the album’s core. The playing is tight and lucid, and the arrangements get quickly to the point allowing Williams to get his message across. If you’re in the market for a new singer-songwriter with something to say, be sure to check him out. Simon. LeicesterBangs.co.uk 2010 - Leicester Bangs


Chuck Williams and “Lightning in a Bottle” is a tour de force in folk style songwriting and country sound. Released in 2010, this 10 track CD, his fifth studio offering, boasts over 40 minutes of introspective, folk songwriting at its finest, his latest offering clearly shows that New England can produce some top notch folk writers. Zack Kiley, Indie Music Digest, 2010 - Indie Music Digest


As I sat down to perform my dutiful task of reviewing this week's batch of CDs, I didn't dare think I'd find my future epitaph within the title of Chuck Williams new release Smart Too Late, Old Too Soon. Rarely am I moved by a record during the mundane process of removing the cellophane. However, the profound title grabbed me instantly, and my enthusiasm was only heightened once I began listening to the track and the ensuing songs throughout.

The Ohio-born, Berkshire resident has steadily been gaining critical acclaim throughout New England songwriting circles, and has even earned several awards for his finely tuned craft. Employing a voice that resembles Neil Young's with the edges rounded-off, Williams is far more than simply a folk singer. His singer-songwriter style is circuitously culled from various influences, though he does not rely too heavily on any one technique. On some tracks, Williams and his studio compatriots form tightly knit harmonies reminiscent of Peter Paul & Mary. And yet on others, the vocal and backing arrangements resemble a Blood-On-The-Tracks-era Dylan. That aside, Chuck Williams is by no means a retro-act. The recordings are fresh sounding and uniquely his own.

As alluded to earlier, the title track “Smart Too Late, Old Too Soon” is particularly potent. This haunting refrain laments the life of a solitary soul who clearly didn't live life to full potential: “Throughout his life there were seeds to sow, Something to stand back on that would grow and grow - But the only thing he left was written in this tune - He was smart too late and old too soon.”

There seems to be a proud and strong tradition of folk music speaking truth to power. Sadly, the rock world appears to no longer have the inclination to express contrary opinions on geopolitical affairs (unless you count the Dixie Chicks…and I don't). However on another song “On The Line,” Chuck Williams does just that, while broaching the topic of warfare, and more specifically the young fighting the wars of the old: “He joined in ’68 to bypass the lottery, sounded stupid then but the choice was free - didn't take long before he was upon that plane - this was the real deal, not no war game...His son left in ’03, had no lottery - His uncle told him be all that you can be - Men and women all have gone, sadly not the last - when will this world put war in the past?”

Lest I leave you with the false impression that Williams' musings are all dark in nature, I offer the closing track, “Ya Gotta Call Now,” as evidence to the contrary. With tongue firmly in cheek, Williams sings a cynical, sardonic ode to capitalism: “All of the focus is on sales to sealed - let's sell it all, it's the best deal ... on TVs, microwaves, photographic memories, stereos, gas grills, vacuum cleaners on the go, gold rings, silver rings, rings with baubles, other things…Full price, half price, two for one, ain't that nice.”

With a great deal of humility, Chuck Williams describes this, his third CD release as "just me and my guitar." Clearly Smart Too Late, Old Too Soon is so much more than that. Anyone who invests the time to absorb the minimalist musical approach with maximum lyrical content will not be disappointed - Don DiMuccio


Discography

'In April 2010 Chuck released a studio album titled 'Lightning In A Bottle'. It is said that this songwriter is just hitting his stride and the collection of tunes on his latest offering support that. Fresh melodies and lyrics from the heart is what you will hear clearly.

'Trilogy' was released in February of 2008. This 3 song EP was born at the Stop The War Rally on Boston Common in March of '08. The disc has 2 new songs, With Peace & Citizens Request along with the award winning On The Line. Chuck has dedicated this EP to all who have worn the uniform. All proceeds for this project go directly to the Veterans for Peace Organization.

'Smart Too Late, Old Too Soon' released in 2006. It has been said that his Folk, Americana style is reminiscent of early Neil Young, John Mellencamp with a touch of Dylan all the while being completely original. Along with the title track, that tells of learning lifes lessons before it is to late, the CD contains 'On The Line', an award winning song from the PeaceDriven Songwirting Awards contest.

'Beyond the Berkshires' is a compilation CD from 2004. Chuck released two new songs that had not appeared on his previous CD's. 'Shared the Day', recorded in Connecticut with the help of Steve & Paula Collin, is a sweet love song and 'The Longer I Live' tells a reflective story of times gone by. 'Beyond the Berkshires' features those two songs and 11 other tracks from his previous 2 CD's.

'Footprints in the Sand', finished in 2002, was a collaboration with Greg Elliott of New Hampshire. This album leans towards the classic rock they grew up listening to. Much of this music has a harder edge to it brought to the forefront by the strong guitar work of Greg Elliott while Chuck's songwriting continues to evolve.

Puppetshow' was Chuck's first solo CD and was completed in 2000. The material presents subjects of love lost, love gained, growing up and moving on.

Photos

Bio

Chuck Williams has been appearing throughout New England and in recent years has gone coast to coast with his music. Raised in Toledo, Ohio, Chuck has lived most of his adult life in the Berkshires Mountains of Massachusetts, moving to Cape Cod in 2002. This songwriters music is of love gained, love lost, growing up and moving on. He can take you on a journey that makes you think, smile and at times want to cry. He has been traveling to coffeehouses, performing arts centers and festivals sowing seeds of his songs along the way. His lyrics and melodies are a musical journey reflecting emotions of everyday life brought to you through the stories within his songs.

Performances have been at notable venues such as the Cape Cod Melody tent in Hyannis, MA, the Narrows Center for the Arts in Fall River, MA, Guthrie Center in Gt. Barrington, MA, and The Namelss Coffeehouse, Cambridge, MA the White Crow Conservatory, Saginaw, MI, Kenny's Castaway's in NYC's Greenwich Village and the National Hobo Convention in Britt, Iowa.

Chuck has had the pleasure of opening for national touring artists such as Jimmy LeFave, Steve Forbert, Cheryl Wheeler, Rod Mac Donald, Pegi Young and the Survivors amongst others. He has been a part of many festivals including the Boston Folk Festival, the Boston Music Festival, New Bedford Summerfest, (MA) Sustainable Living Festival, Newport Arts Festival, Riversing (RI) the Utica Music and Arts Festival (NY).

2012
Nominated in Rhode Island's Motif Magazine Music Awards
Best Folk Act
2011
Nominated in Rhode Island's Motif Magazine Music Awards
Singer/Songwriter of the Year
2010
Nominated in Rhode Island's Motif Magazine Music Awards
American a Album of the Year, 'Lightning In A Bottle'
2009
Nominated in Rhode Island's Motif Magazine Music Awards
Best Singer/Songwriter
2008
Nominated in Rhode Island's Motif Magazine Music Awards
Best Singer/Songwriter
Best CD for 'Trilogy'
PeaceDriven Songwriting Awards Honornble Mention
2007
Nominated in Rhode Island's Motif Magazine Music Awards
Best Singer/Songwriter
Best Folk Act
Best CD "Smart Too Late, Old Too Soon'
Cape Cod & Islands Songwriting Contest Runner Up
2006
PeaceDriven Songwriting Awards Honorable Mention
2005
Ludlow Folk Festival Songwriter Contest Winner

... Chuck Williams owes a debt to folkies like James Taylor, but he does enough on 'Lightning In A Bottle' to indicate hes his own man. Strong songs and a keen delivery are at the albums core. The playing is tight and lucid, and the arrangements get quickly to the point allowing Williams to get his message across. If youre in the market for a new singer-songwriter with something to say, be sure to check him out. Simon. LeicesterBangs.co.uk 2010

What stands out about 'Lightning in a Bottle' is Chuck Williams' passion, lyric directness and vocal maturation. He's obviously a musician on the rise. Jim Vickers, Motif Magazine 2010

Chuck Williams and Lightning in a Bottle is a tour de force in folk style songwriting and country sound. Released in 2010, this 10 track CD, his fifth studio offering, boasts over 40 minutes of introspective, folk songwriting at its finest, his latest offering clearly shows that New England can produce some top notch folk writers. Zack Kiley, Indie Music Digest, 2010

Chuck is a member of ASCAP & is President of RISA (Rhode Island Songwriters Association).