|Originally from the Finger Lakes of NY State, singer/songwriter/guitarist Meg Williams (now based in Nashville), has signed with Nola Blue Records for her debut full-length album, “Take Me As I Am: The Muscle Shoals Sessions.” Her 2017 EP, “Maybe Someday,” opened many doors for Williams, including the chance to compete in the 2019 International Blues Challenge (Memphis, TN), representing the Kentucky Blues Society, and become the house band director for the Women In Blues Showcase.
Williams, who draws instant comparisons to Susan Tedeschi and Bonnie Raitt, was obviously inspired during her sessions at FAME Recording Studios to take full advantage of the aesthetic of the space that gave birth to 100’s of hit records and is home to the world-renowned Swampers rhythm section, and its formula for rocking soul and R&B.
The sessions, produced by Meg and engineered by John Gifford Ill, has Williams backed by an all-star rhythm section including Will McFarlane on guitar, Bob Wray on bass, Clayton Ivey on keys and Justin Holder on drums. Also appearing are Dan Wecht on guitar/slide guitar and Sara Rogers on background vocals. The album is a collection of 12 original songs, penned by Williams alone or in collaboration with Nashville-based songwriters Claire Kelly, Scott Barrier, Chase Walker, Terry Goose Downing, and Jenny Teator, that includes new versions of ‘l Feel A Heartache Coming’ and ‘Little Bit Of The Devil’ from the EP.
The bump and grind blues ‘Come On Over To Me’ kicks open the set with greasy slide guitar and alluring vocals from Williams. But don’t be confused, this isn’t a soft-sell record as Williams dons her Gibson for the country-fired riff rocker ‘Tell Everybody,’ shouting out the chorus before throwing down hot lead guitar on the heavy-duty funk burner ‘Shame.’ The tale of a wild woman, ‘Little Bit Of The Devil,’ is revved up and refined into a tighter narrative showcasing the tasty chops of the rhythm section. Fellow Nashville transplant Chase Walker co-wrote the tome of hard luck and trouble ’Played By The Blues,’ a fine update of a familiar theme. While singer-songwriter Claire Kelly helped her write the optimistic love song ‘Sometimes I Need You Too’ that ramps up to a great jamming Allman Brothers vibe.
The title track is Williams declaration that she is in this for the long haul, and will be true to herself, as she sings about life, love and the choice to compete in the ruthless world of the music business. Some fine Hammond B3 from Clayton Ivey sweetens the easy groove of ‘What About Me?’ and the dynamic rocker ‘Can’t Keep Waiting On You,’ has a slow-burning intensity, while the full-blown soul rock blaster ‘I Feel A Heartache Coming,’ lets loose all the fury of Williams and the crew. Williams plays the femme fatale for the slinky ‘Make A Move’ and the album closes with a classic swinging blues ballad ‘Take A Chance On My Love,’ surrounding Williams’ sultry alto with Gospel flavored harmonies and soaring guitar from Will McFarlane.
With each track tinged with that Muscle Shoals Sound, “Take Me As I Am” exquisitely sets the stage for Meg Williams to become a rising star in the blues rock world.
Rick J Bowen
Meg Williams performs frequently at venues across the country with her band, Meg Williams Band, as a solo/duo act, and as a guitarist for other artists. She recently competed in the 2019 International Blues Challenge (Memphis, TN), representing the Kentucky Blues Society, and was the house band director for the Women in Blues Showcase. Meg has additionally performed main-stage at the 2018 Venice Blues Festival (Venice, FL), RedGorilla Music Festival (Austin, TX), Blues Radio International during the BMA’s (Memphis, TN), Knoxville’s WDVX Blue Plate Special, Tennessee Motorcycles & Music Revival Festival, & Loretta Lynn’s Ranch as an artist, and performed at Cheyenne Frontier Days & CMA Fest as a guitarist for other artists. Meg’s newest blues-rock EP, ‘Maybe Someday,’ has been played on SiriusXM’s Bluesville and radio stations world-wide – ‘Maybe Someday’ reached #10 on the Top 50 Blues Rock Album charts and on the Roots Music Report, and #38 on the Top Blues Album charts. Often compared to Susan Tedeschi and Bonnie Raitt, Meg’s guitar playing has captured the attention of listeners throughout Nashville and increasingly the US.