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Cal Williams Jr. - Morning Star

Self Release

Cal Williams Jr. is a fine, understated acoustic blues and slide guitarist from Australia and seems to be generating a big noise ‘down under’. He has been voted South Australian Songwriter of the Year three times, has performed at a variety of leading U.K. venues and festivals including the Leeds In-The-City Festival, the Famous Spiegeltent, the Edinburgh Festival fringe, the Beverley and East Riding Festival, H2004 and H2005 Scarborough Beached Festival, Musicport World Music Festival, Baysound Festival and The St. Ives September Fringe, and has recently put forth his latest recorded effort, Morning Star.

One listen and it is easy to see why Williams has been successful at his work and why he has shared stages with the likes of Billy Bragg, KT Tunstall, and Martin Simpson. His thing is folk/acoustic blues music with an occasional hippy vibe thrown in for good measure. Morning Star has a gentle, soothing quality and is a great alternative when you want some blues, but don’t really need the sting of a Stratocaster.

Williams’ laid-back vocal delivery and gorgeous acoustic guitar sound drift out of your speakers and envelop you and pull you into his musical world, which could be compared to the one inhabited by icons like Ry Cooder and Rory Block.

The album’s opener, the instrumental “GreyHound”, begins with an almost New Age feel, which catches the listener off guard. This is supposed to be blues, right? Well, these are Cal’s blues, and he plays them as he pleases, with all of his influences thrown in. The track does develop more rootsy flavor as it progresses, which should make the stalwarts happy.

“Mexico City Blues” is like listening to an acoustic Canned Heat with Skip James singing lead and has a very cool 70’s sort of thing to it. Through it all, Williams paints vivid pictures of landscapes and the people within them and is obviously as much of a songwriter as a guitarist. Cal Williams Jr. is one that blues fans who are looking for something a bit different may want to keep their ears pealed for.

Reviewer Mike O'Cull is a noted Chicago music writer and Blues Blast contributor. Visit his MySpace page at:

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