Rob Williams’ An Hour Before Daylight

By Brian Rock

Rob Williams gets up early to share his new album, An Hour Before Daylight. This, his third full length release, sees Williams continue his unique, melodic hook-laden style of Folk-abilly. Perhaps inspired by the history soaked streets of his hometown in Richmond, Virginia, this album mines memories of the past, both real and imagined to tell stories that are timeless in nature.

“The Old North State” leads off with a choogling, roots rock rhythm as Williams sings about his parents’ migration from North Carolina to Virginia seeking a better life. But as often happens, the innate call to return home beckons them, as Rob gives voice to their yearning, singing, “Oh, Carolina, why did we ever go away? Oh, Carolina, take me to the Old North State.”

The memories recounted in “Don’t Want to Love You,” are from Williams’ own point of view. Singing against a deceptively spritely Folk-Rock backbeat, Rob examines the regret of a missed romantic relationship from both sides. Receiving a call from a former lover on her wedding night, Williams hears her confess, “I never really loved you… the way you wanted me to.” The dramatic pause heightens the emotional tension as the second part of the phrase reverses the meaning of the first part. The second phrase also reveals her epiphany that she does indeed love him, but realizes that truth too late to benefit either of them.

Combining elements of Bob Dylan, Ryan Adams and The Byrds, Williams creates stories that are emotionally evocative and rhythmically rewarding. He shows off his Folk bona fides in songs such as “Butte Montana 1885,” where he gives poetic expression to the plight of miners, singing, “The richest hill on earth made the poorest men in the town.” “Broken” probes the heart of a flawed man in love with a woman he deems too good for him as he confesses, “A good man wouldn’t break you, even if he thought he could. But there’s no good man in sight, it’s only me tonight.” Williams even gives full throated Folk voice to the Statue of Liberty in the Woody Guthrie inspired, “Tired And Poor.” Starting with the actual inscription from Lady Liberty, Williams sings, “Give me your tired and your poor, I’ll open up the door. Give me your huddled masses yearning to breathe free. I lift up my light and let it shine all through the night, be the hope I hope the world some day to be.”

From childhood games of hide and seek to faded pictures of long lost ancestors to the fabled fight of Icarus, Rob Williams’ heartfelt vocals and lyrical insights play like a wondrous dream you half remember as you wake, “An Hour Before Daylight.”  |  insta  |  buy

Brian Rock

Brian Rock

Brian was raised gypsy style, moving every other year until well after college. As friendships proved to be temporary, Brian found a constant companion in music, wearing the grooves off Beatles and Dylan albums before moving on to Lyle Lovett and Dwight Yokam. Living so often in flux, he has come to value music and lyrics of lasting quality. Not moved by trends or fashion, he is drawn to timeless lyrics and soulful rhythms. Although now settled down, Brian still expresses his gypsy spirit through his writing. He has co-written songs with musician friends he’s met along the way, including several contributions to the 2012 ICMA Album of the Year, Family Album. Brian also writes children’s books and poems, including the Children’s Book Council featured title, The Deductive Detective.
Brian Rock

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