Marlon Williams, CMJ Music Marathon Upstairs at Pianos
Some folks I met from Australia who were in town for the marathon told me I HAD to check out New Zealand singer-songwriter Marlon Williams. Armed with an unassuming acoustic guitar and playing the upstairs room at Pianos for a 12:30 pm set, I was quickly glad I took my Aussie friends’ advice.
Williams is a throwback – in 2015, it’s a bit anachronistic to hear such pure, unadulterated music untainted by overproduced electronic sounds coming from a Macbook. His sound could have existed back in the 1960’s, when folk singers like Bob Dylan made the rounds of Greenwich Village venues like Café Wha?
He made me want to revisit the soundtrack to the Coen Brothers’ “Inside Llewyn Davis” about a struggling folk singer in 1960’s New York City. Simply put, Williams’ voice is resplendent – yes, resplendent – and even if folk/country isn’t the type of music that you normally listen to, he’s worth checking out.
Sure, Williams’ music might have been better received in such dark, smoky venues back in the 60’s, but here in the upstairs of Pianos in the middle of the day with beams of sunlight pouring into the room, the sound was just as moving.
Williams played for a handful of people who were up early enough to catch his set, and he played just as passionately as he would have for an audience ten times that size.
He is coming back to New York to play a gig at the Mercury Lounge this coming February – needless to say, I will be back to see him then!
Key Tracks: “Everyone’s Got Something to Say”; “Dark Child”; “Little Heart”