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Review: Holly Williams, Hall Two, Sage Gateshead

The granddaughter of Hank Williams - whom she never met - charmed her Tyneside audience

Holly Williams
Holly Williams

Holly Williams is always promoted as Hank Williams’ granddaughter - a grandfather she told Sage Gateshead’s Hall Two audience that she is proud of, but never met.

Over a number of years she has visited Tyneside and performed at different venues including the Jumpin’ Hot Club at the Cluny and last year at the Sage with Ron Sexsmith.

Young singer-songwriter Anderson East from Athens, Alabama opened the evening.

He sang with passion, he has a tremendous voice and the sound in the Sage was splendid. Anderson successfully fuses soul, blues, rock and country influences and his performance was polished.

Williams was joined on stage by her support act who accompanied her on guitar and added backing vocals, plus a bit of electric stand-up bass.

Throughout the evening Williams introduced her songs to an attentive audience, offering their back stories and context.

Many of the songs have come from emotional trauma she has experienced - a close friend’s alcoholism and her mother’s relationship with her father.

Other songs related to more common life experiences, such as her one time - but ultimately unfounded - fear of remaining perpetually single.

Williams often performs with her husband Chris Coleman who she told us was busy in Wales playing with Kings of Leon. She performed Without You, which was written for him.

Williams greatest strength is her skill as a songwriter. Over many years working hard performing on small stages and playing support slots she has become a powerful performer and built-up a loyal following.

The night closed with a song her grandfather regularly ended his concerts with, I Saw The Light.

Martin Ellis


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