Here With Me by Holly Williams

Holly Williams confounded expectations with her 2004 debut, The Ones We Never Knew—her brand of soft-spoken, introspective alt-country was a far cry from the rowdy sound of dad Hank Jr., the hard-core honky-tonk of granddad Hank Sr. or the hillbilly hell-raising of brother Hank III.

The long-awaited follow-up finds Holly continuing to find her own path, pursuing a more fleshed-out and accessible variation on the quiet introspection of her first album.

Music City production veterans Justin Niebank and Tony Brown add a more radio-ready polish, but Here With Me is often just as starkly emotional as its predecessor.

“Mama” is a plainspoken thanks from a child shielded from the muck of a messy split, while “Three Days in Bed” is just as frank in its carnality.

A couple of the non-originals skirt too closely to cookie-cutter Nashville fare, but for the most part Here With Me is a reminder that the real Williams family tradition isn’t about a particular sound or style—it’s about being yourself and telling your truth.

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