Voice alone and you might get that nostalgic feeling from Shawn Williams that is an aching twangy southern soul that is more often mimicked than authenticated. Like Lucinda Willians, add this younger Williams in the real deal, undisputed soulful artist category: destined for a shot as a career artist.
Hailing from the melting pot of New Orleans, Williams makes music that’s every bit as diverse and hauntingly soulful as her hometown. Williams approaches Americana with a punk attitude. She calls it “alt-rocka countrybilly, serial killer blues,” carving out an atmospheric sound that blends amplified guitars, rawly honest lyrics, and nocturnal arrangements into her own brand of Americana-noire. Wallowin’ in the Night, her fourth full-length record, adds a new dimension to that musical mix, unfolding like a soundtrack to the long, lonely hours after midnight.
“I’ve always been drawn to dark themes,” she explains. “Maybe it comes from being in New Orleans. Maybe it comes from my love of the desert. It just flows out of me from somewhere else.”
“Racking my brain about what I was going to call the album, I looked at the lyrics for each of the songs on the album, and found the title in a line in ‘Don’t Go’…’I’d be a lonesome drifter, wallowin’ in the night’… a lot of the songs on the album came from doing just that, wallowing in the nighttime,” adds Williams.
Glide is premiering the twangy “Don’t Go,” a sly and soulful winner that swoons with achingly beautiful harmonies. While Williams certainly can flaunt her punk muscles, “Don’t Go,” proves she can go righteous without sacrificing heartache and soul.
“I was riding in the car, on the way to Pensacola, with someone I fancied who mentioned during the ride that they were going to move to Austin. Later that night in the hotel room, while thinking about it, I jotted down in my phone, ‘Don’t go to Texas.’ When I got home, I wrote the song, keeping in mind how I would feel if I were to lose this soulful person with whom I became so emotionally connected,” says Williams.
Wallowin’ in the Night shines its light on the darkness of the human experience, its songs detailing Williams’ experience with heartbreak and hangovers, breakups and booze, vices and vulnerability. Released on the heels of 2020’s The Fear of Living, The Fear of Loving, it’s an album about the people who leave and the hard habits that stick around, written and produced by a songwriter who isn’t afraid to shine a light on the skeletons in her own closet.
“A lot of these songs have a nighttime atmosphere,” explains Williams, a former radio programmer who launched her songwriting career with 2017’s Shadow and its acclaimed follow-up, 2018’s Motel Livin’. “The nighttime is when we’re mostly alone by ourselves, stuck with whatever’s going on, whether that’s sadness or happiness. When I was writing some of these songs, it was mostly sadness.”