Williamson is ever the restless musical explorer, and 1999's THE OLD FANGLED TONE captures him in a richly compelling concert performance. In a considerable instrumental departure, Williamson offers gorgeously rendered brass arrangements of a series of traditional songs. This was clearly a labor of love. The horns are, by turns, frolicsome and plaintive, weaving a staggeringly emotive tapestry on such tracks as "Well Ye Go to Flanders."
The songs all date from the 1900s or from several centuries prior. While most of the pieces have their origins in the British Isles, the concert repertoire features some notable exceptions. "Battleship of Maine," for example, chronicles the sinking of said ship and President McKinley's formation of the Rough Riders. Throughout the set, Williamson sings, plays guitar or harp, and serves as the affable host, introducing the songs with humor and well-researched depth. The uniqueness of this particular project is not lost on the extremely appreciative audience. The lucky listeners savor every nuance with silent attention and erupt in applause at the conclusion of each number.