In Meg Williams Band’s first release, For Now, Meg Williams, the self-labeled singer-songwriter-guitarist, melds her blues, rock, and jazz background with a pop/ funk/ R&B sound.
Meg Williams Band, on the recording anyway, consists of Williams and vocals on guitar, Danny Ziemann on bass, Matt Bevan-Perkins on drums, Sara Rogers on trumpet and vocals, and Wills McKenna on tenor sax. During the concert, since McKenna and Bevan-Perkins have moved to Nashville and Chicago respectively, Rogers was the lone horn, and Matt Ramerman, the man who recorded, mixed, and mastered the EP, played drums.
At the concert, MWB played all the songs from the five-track EP, as well as three others, some from her previous albums, and a cover of Bonnie Raitt’s “Love Me Like A Man.” Throughout the whole concert, the audience got the full picture of Meg Williams; a singer-songwriter who considers herself primarily a guitarist, who draws from the blues and rock to craft her music. Her vocal style in the concert was reminiscent of a funky Norah Jones, whom Williams says is a primary influence.
The EP sounds as Williams describes her band… “Funk rock” at its core. Sounds of pop and blues also permeate the album.
The title track, “For Now,” opens the EP, and sets the tone for the whole album. The horns begin with a catchy riff, moving into a pop sound vocal intro. Thematically, the lyrics, melody, and instrumentation creates the sound of personal independence. Immediately the listener is struck by the unusual and intriguing juxtaposition of Williams’ low and dark vocal timbre compared her lyrics of moving forward and positivity.
The next two songs, “Caught Up,” and “Where I Stand,” continue the lyrical trend of moving forward, change in mindset, and positivity.
“Caught Up” begins with a guitar intro by Williams, combining some bluesier voicings with funk settings and rhythms. The lyrics explore moving on in life with a positive mindset in context of a bad day. Moreover, “Caught Up” is unique, as Williams explores the malady of modern life; young people constantly swamped in bad news and negativity. In her own voice, she described this condition as the “blues,” perfectly combining her blues background and modern outlook. The horns also had a great part, combining for an interpretation of the melody before exchanging short solos, and moving into a unison riff.
“Where I Stand” continues Williams examination of moving on in life with a positivity, but approaches it in a different way. It almost sings like a pep talk; the narrator of the song discuss her self-confidence in the midst of remaking herself. It is complemented by the change in style as Rogers joins the fold as a vocalist. Williams and Rogers combine for unison, harmonized, and call-and-response vocal lines. When the two begin singing different lyrics a the end, the two represent the former life of the narrator, and the bolstered narrator moving forward.
The second to last tune, “Can’t Let It Go,” truly explores Williams’ blues background. The song opens with a great drum open from Bevan-Perkins, with Ziemann joining in. It serves as a moment to celebrate the great work between the two on the EP. The song explores the difficulty in a relationship between the feelings the couple have for one another and their disparate goals. The audience gets a treat as Williams returns to her roots, and shreds on a blues solo. The piece makes a cool transition with the horns from a gritty rock/ blues/ funk sound to the pop and R&B sound from earlier in the album. It ends with a blast with overlaid harmonized vocals from Williams and Rogers to create a full choral sound.
To end the EP, Williams encapsulates the theme of the moving forward and reinvention by adding a bonus track, “Troubles to the Wind,” the title track from her first album released in May 2014. The original track is a blues and earthier sound, and the new recording is in the style of MWB.
Williams and her band perfectly display her lyrical themes throughout the concert, providing a modern take on life with a sound that blends rock, blues, funk, and R&B.
EP is available in physical copies, iTunes, CDBaby, and Amazon.
Photo by Meg Williams.