Calling New Zealand born Marlon Williams just a singer-songwriter somehow degrades his work. With the recent release of his second solo studio album, Williams is the feature artist this month on Rug Lane.
From the small town of Lyttelton, New Zealand with a population of about 3000 people, Marlon Williams was always set to play. Founding
The Unfaithful Ways at 17 with his high school friends and their science teacher, Williams and the band gained national attention, touring on the Big Day Out circuit and opening for Band of Horses and Justin Townes Earle. In 2011 they picked up a Critics Choice award nomination at the New Zealand Music Awards for their debut album 'Free Rein'.
Williams then met country singer Delaney Davidson in 2011, and together they began performing as a duo. The pair went on to release three volumes of the series, Sad But True: The Secret History of Country Music Songwriting, and won New Zealand Country Song and Country Album of the year in 2013. Pigeonholing Williams as country signer isn't a fair call though. Although he's expressed his approaches as 'country' he really is able to breach multiple genres, blending alt-country, 60s pop and 19th-century folk witg blues, bluegrass and rock terrain. "I approach everything with a country sensibility I guess. I like working with straight lines, it gives you more room to move. Listening to strict bluegrass like the Stanley Brothers makes me feel my most musically free and open" (Independent.co.uk, October 2015).
Image by Steve Gullick
After relocating to Melbourne, he released Live at La Niche in 2014 and in 2015 he released his self titled solo debut. It was the kind of album that sent shivers down your spine. As some have said, it was the perfectly placed album and every song ordered to perfection. Williams has this Gender-fluid falsetto that gives you impressions of Anohni, Perfume Genius. and sometimes even a bit of the Andrew Birds.
Make Way for Love, his second album dropped only a few months ago. With producer Noah Georgeson (Joanna Newsom), and guest vocals by his "old flame" Aldous Harding (as quoted by Harding herself on her Instagram), the album is less complex as his debut but utterly meaningful in its simplicity.
Catch Williams and his smooth heartbreaking tunes at Dark Mofo this June.