Album Review: Hall Williams Band – In His Own Words

Hall Williams Band - In His Own Words

The Hall Williams Band is the latest super group from the Baltimore-DC area that should be added to your listening queue. The four piece band, made up of Hall Williams (vocals, guitar), Lorenzo Sands (bass), Rodney Dunton (drums), and Justin Taylor (keyboards), recently put out their first album In His Own Words, featuring a special appearance from Jeff Goodman (keys) and Carl Talley (pedal steel). Although the band has played together in various configurations before, it wasn’t until recently that this “sparkly" jam band found their current sound.

Although they characterize themselves as a blend between The Dave Matthews Band, ALO, The John Butler Trio, and The Jerry Garcia Band, their sound is distinctly unique. While there are noticeable elements of inspiration borrowed from other talents, once The Hall Williams band gets grooving, their sound is entirely their own.

Their debut album In His Own Words is a blend of everything — folk, rock, funk, and more than anything, soul. You can tell that the band put their all into their work and thoroughly enjoy what they’re doing.

The lyrics are simple and easily digestible, reinforcing the idea that this is an album to have fun with, to sing along to. This is an album to be shared among friends. 

Leading off with the titular track “In His Own Words,” Williams croons soulfully before diving into his role of story teller: “You tell a story/It all ain’t true/I’ll tell the story/That’s what I’ll do.” This first track is breezy, setting the tone for the album, which later on proves to be an uplifting, easy, and enjoyable listen. 

The soft cymbals leading into the intro of, “What You Believe,” signals the beginning of a jam. It’s impossible to hear this song without at least bobbing along. And, if you’re like me and get caught up in the music, you won’t even notice the stares of passerby’s as you dance along in cereal aisle at Whole Foods. The vocals echoing the lyric “I will carry you” combined with the accompaniment of the entirety of the band, illustrate that this is a song that would make for a stellar live performance, inviting listeners to sing and dance along.

“Go” is a good come down from the previous track, slowing down the tempo. The band picks their groove right back up with my personal favorite — “Same Man” — a track that leads off with Neil Young vibes. However, the quick introduction of the synthy twangs of the pedal steel guitar and drums twist the song into an original jam piece. The lyrics are playful and reminiscent of a children’s nursery rhyme: “It’s raining it’s pouring the old man is snoring…”. While at times the rhymes can be slightly overwhelming, they pose a sharp juxtaposition to the chorus, which adopt an almost melancholy tone in the lyrics. Positioning the reflective lyrics atop a high tempo beat makes for a compelling mixture, wherein I caught myself feeling an unexplained sense of nostalgia.

“Willie’s Light” builds on the feeling from the previous songs, adopting a hopeful and optimistic tone with the repeated chorus of, “I’m telling you that there is a way.” Although clocking in at just over eight minutes, it doesn’t once drag on, with the jam break in the middle exuding the epitome of experience and supreme talent. The album could have easily ended with this track, with the pedal steel guitar playing us out, however “Movin' Forward” provides the perfect outro for this debut album. Just as the title implies The Hall Williams Band is looking to the future. The heartfelt and optimistic ending has all the right rock ’n roll elements that’ll leave you wanting for more.

In His Own Words is meant to be listened to loud, and ideally live, with room for riffs and elongated musical interludes. Thankfully, The Hall Williams Band frequents the The Depot in Baltimore and is hitting the road to DC among other places soon in the coming new year. 

Their debut album was released digitally (iTunes, SoundCloud, Spotify, CD Baby) and on CD last month, and can be purchased at their shows and off their website.

Hall Williams Band - In His Own Words

Hall Williams Band

In His Own Words

Released: 2017

Track Listing:

1. In His Own Words

2. I Will Always Be Here For You

3. What You Believe

4. Go

5. Same Man

6. Willie's Light

7. Movin' Forward

About the author

Abbie Ginis

Abbie Ginis has been a music junkie for as long as she can remember. Hailing from Michigan (Go Blue!), she is eager to continue to explore and be immersed the DMV music scene. When she's not at concerts, Abbie can be found at the movies or longingly ogling at puppies.