02 Jul 2021, 10:17 MST

Joy Williams

A decade and change ago I did a short and wholly inadequate post about a duo I absolutely adore. Their bluegrass-y harmonies and lapping waves of melancholy remain singular and, were it not for their untimely dissolution, we would surely be listening to their fourth or fifth album and wondering how many Best Country Duo Performance Grammys one act could collect. Alas, with the virtual guarantee The Civil Wars are done for good, the sort of person that chases these heartsick highs must look elsewhere, and I have. There are things to hear out there, The Sweeplings, Striking Matches, First Aid Kit sometimes, The Staves a little bit, but if you’re missing the rich honey and delicate power of Joy Williams vocals, well, there’s only one place to look.

Front Porch is not recent, strictly speaking, but it’s recently come into heavy rotation for me, and I’m finding the easy comfort and uncluttered simplicity of these songs exceedingly satisfying. In that way that you sometimes don’t realize you miss things until you find them again, I missed Joy Williams’ voice. It’s a superweapon deployed as it is here, with flatpicked guitars and background harmonies. There’s lost love and there’s regret, there’s hope and heartfelt desire in the tracks, but more than that there’s an intimacy that brings you very close. You’re on the porch with her while she sings. That’s the real magic captured here. You can feel a person just right over there, a person you’re there with. These songs are not to me or about me or for me, they’re hers, and it’s a privilege to listen.

Front Porch
Hotel St. Cecilia

Where to find Joy Williams:
Twitter: @joywilliams
Website: joywilliams.com