Holly Williams wasn't exactly born with a guitar in her hands, but she started writing songs at the age of 8. Given that she is the daughter of Hank Williams Jr. and the granddaughter of Hank Williams Sr., music and songwriting appear to be part of her DNA. In 2004, Holly Williams released her debut recording, The Ones We Never Knew. Now, she has a new CD, Here With Me.
The song 'Mama' led to the record deal: It tells of her mother's positive attitude while divorcing her father. "My mother never talked negatively about my dad," Williams says. "We didn't grow up with any bitterness. It's just amazing — she's always been a really positive light."
Williams' father was skeptical when he first heard of her career choice. He told her it's a hard business, and that he didn't want her to get into it. But he soon had a change of heart. "One of the first songs I wrote when I was older was about his best friend who died of cancer," Williams says. "And when he read those lyrics, he totally changed his mind." Though father and daughter have been careful to keep their careers separate, they coincidentally released their new albums on the same day.
Hank Williams Sr.'s influence can be heard in the album. His name actually appears in the song, "Without Jesus Here With Me." Inspired by a car crash that she survived in 2006, the song has a heavy spiritual focus.
"There's such a stigma on Hank Williams' battle with alcohol, but he had a lot of gospel songs that can teach a lot about spirituality," she says.
Williams taps into her well of personal experience for her songs. "Three Days In Bed With A Stranger" speaks for itself, inspired by both truth and fantasy. "I've always had a weakness for international men. Anyone from a different culture is so fascinating. But I didn't literally spend three days in bed with a stranger." The song is the only track on the album that is completely live — a raw recording featuring only Williams and her guitar.
"At heart, I'm just a simple singer-songwriter. I like to just sit down with my guitar and piano and sing songs," she says.