Marlon Williams with Merk

Tue Sep 27, 8 pm
Tractor Tavern Ballard (Seattle)
This is an in-person event
$20
21+
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A fact well known to fans of his first, self-titled solo album, and his captivating live shows. An otherworldly instrument with an affecting vibrato, it’s a voice that’s earned repeated comparisons to the great Roy Orbison, and even briefly had Williams, in his youth, consider a career in classical singing, before realizing his temperament was more Stratocaster than Stradivarius.

But it’s the art of songwriting that has bedeviled the artist, and into which he has grown exponentially on his second album, Make Way For Love, out in February of 2018. It’s Marlon Williams like you’ve never heard him before—exploring new musical terrain and revealing himself in an unprecedented way, in the wake of a fractured relationship.

In early December, Williams and his longtime girlfriend, musician Aldous (Hannah) Harding, broke up—the end of a relationship that brought together two of Down Under’s most acclaimed talents of recent years, who’d managed to navigate the challenges of having equally ascendant—though separate—careers, until they couldn’t.

While personally wrenching, the split seemed to open the floodgates for Williams as a writer. “Then I wrote about fifteen songs in a month,” he recalls. The biggest challenge was then condensing often complex, conflicted emotions and doing them justice, and while Make Way For Love draws on Williams’ own story, it captures the vagaries of relationships we’ve all been through in remarkably universal terms.

Williams flipped the script recording-wise as well. After three weeks of pre-production with regular collaborator Ben Edwards, Williams and his backing band, The Yarra Benders, then decamped 7000 miles away, to Northern California’s Panoramic Studios, to record with producer Noah Georgeson, who’s helmed baroque pop and alt-folk gems by Joanna Newsom, Adam Green, Little Joy and Devendra Banhart. “I was a really big fan of those Cate Le Bon records he did [Mug Museum, Crab Day],” Williams says. “I was obsessed with those albums.”

The record also moves Williams several paces away from “country”—the genre that’s been affixed to him more than any in recent years. Make Way For Love, with forays into cinematic strings, reverb, rollicking guitar and at least one quiet piano ballad, is a more expansive affair. “I think just having the time,” he explains, “and having just finished a cycle of playing these quite heavily country-leaning songs for the last three or four years, and playing them a lot, has definitely pushed me into exploring other things.”

" (Promo Copy)

Tractor Tavern

5213 Ballard Ave NW Seattle, WA 98107 Venue website

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Live Music
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Rock

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