Brooks Williams

Little Lion

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Brooks Williams is primarily known as a singer/songwriter with a strong cult following on the acoustic circuit. But his guitar playing has also won him considerable attention, and on this album it's the guitar that takes center stage. Playing alone and with the accompaniment of second guitarist John Daniel, Williams delivers a set of originals and well-chosen covers, the latter including a bossa nova arrangement of the "Ode to Joy" chorale from Beethoven's "Ninth Symphony," an acoustic version of Hot Tuna's "Water Song," and a rollicking rendition of "54-46 (Was My Number)" by Toots and the Maytals. Williams is one of those rare guitarists whose virtuosity falls gently on the ear; listening to his mournful bottleneck slide playing on "Goodbye Walker Percy" or the intricate syncopations of his kora-inspired "Lizard Logic," you won't often find yourself wondering how on earth anyone could play that stuff -- instead, you'll just be surprised and moved by his melodic inventiveness and by his sweet clarity of tone. Not to mention his sense of humor; it's not every day you hear a bossa nova arrangement of the "Ode to Joy." (Somewhere Herbert Von Karajan is rolling in his grave, and that's just fine.)

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