Brooks Williams

Live Review | The Regent, Doncaster | Review by Allan Wilkinson

Brooks Williams brought his own brand of real folk blues to the Regent tonight with a couple of impressive solo sets, which included much of his current album The Time I Spend with You.  Pleasantly chatty, the Georgia born guitarist, now resident in Boston, Massachusetts, alternated between standard guitar and National Estralita, with a repertoire made up of his own songs including “Rich Tonight” and “Same Ol’ Me” and blues standards such as “Statesboro Blues” and traditional folk fare, such as “Shady Grove”.   Highly approachable and conversational, Williams made it easy on the Regent regulars and those who had travelled to see the guitarist tonight and a rapport soon developed between artist and audience from different sides of the globe.  Williams is equally at home playing flat-pick, finger-pick and bottleneck guitar styles and has a good knowledge of that particular music specifically from his neck of the woods as well as demonstrating some of the most interesting and bizarre Bahaman finger style picking, courtesy of Joseph Spence’s “Out on the Rolling Sea”.  On Doc Watson’s “Beaumont Rag”, Williams demonstrated some highly competent guitar playing without coming across as too flash or showy.  What he played was just right.  On Blind Willie McTell’s “Statesboro Blues” and Mississippi Fred McDowell’s “”61 Highway”, he brought an authentic taste of country blues seldom heard around these parts.  If anyone is going to perform “Statesboro Blues” it might as well be someone from that very city, which indeed Brooks Williams is.  Although Williams is steeped in the rural and urban blues traditions of the Southern States, he has developed a good relationship with musicians on this side of the Atlantic with both Dave Mattacks and Karen Tweed contributing to his new album, which appeared to be selling like hot cakes at the Regent tonight.