Astrid Williamson - Boy for You
Record Label: Incarnation Records
Release Date: August 10, 1998
Scottish singer-songwriter Astrid Williamson creates an alliance between orchestral and folk tones using pockets of chamber music symphonies and inscriptions of acoustic folk-rock hooks. Her album Boy for You, produced by Malcolm Burns (Patti Smith, Peter Gabriel, Bob Dylan), is set for the modern age but does not rely on pop trends or wanton lyrics to attract fans. The only premise her melodies rely on is sounding real.
She tells in a recent press release, “Every album I’ve made has tended to fall outside of current musical trends. The negative side of that is that you tend to be a little out of step with whatever’s fashionable or popular at the time. But the positive side is that you end up with music that doesn’t sound dated and isn’t tied to a particular time.”
The songs resonate with both the Emmylou Harris generation and the Mindy Smith sect. Tracks like “Outside” and “World at Your Feet” have vocals that are pedestal around a dark moat, while the brighter marquees of “Hozanna” and “Everyone’s Waiting” are surrounded by merriment through the wobbling rhythms, sparkling chimes, and glimmering tones moving to a symphonic twitching. Williamson’s vocals actually seem to cater to the melodic motions of the songs, rather than the other way around. She tailors her vocal melodies to the grooves and dynamics in the tracks like the indentations of the chord movements along “Sing for Me” and the soft mobility of the piano rosettes around “If You See the Man.” The melodic channels of “What Do You” and the title track are piloted by catchy folk-rock hooks, while the undulating rhythms of “If I Loved You” and “Someone” are aurally graceful with a ballerina’s footing. The songs have grassroots rock undertones with chamber music embellishments. The combination of textures is a gamble that Williamson performs with an authentic fare of both factions.
Astrid Williamson’s melodic instincts have developed over time as she became proficient at playing the piano, guitar, flute, and fiddle while also singing since she was practically a bairn raised in the rural setting of Scotland’s Shetland Islands. She has shared the stage with such music moguls as Aimee Mann, Neil Finn, Ron Sexsmith, Maria McKee, and Michael Bolton. She has lent her vocals and instrumental skills to a number of recordings including for those artists that signed to her label Incarnation Records. Her album Boy for You is pleasing on so many levels, but mostly because it sounds so real. In her words, “The journey is about coming home to yourself.”