Hayward Williams is a singer-songwriter from Milwaukee, Wisconsin.
Recorded live to tape in a whirlwind two days of sessions at Sonelab Studios in western Massachusetts, his latest album THE REEF blends a Van Morrison-esque R&B with the loose energy and charm of The Faces, all underlined by rock-solid grooves. Produced by critically acclaimed songwriter and veteran of the Americana circuit Jeffrey Foucault, and featuring Billy Conway (Morphine) on drums and Jeremy Moses Curtis (Booker T) on bass, with Williams, Foucault and the Lorenz siblings sharing the singing, THE REEF is built not around leads but around the interaction of voices with rhythm and texture. “We didn’t want a lead guitar”, Williams says. “We thought we could add one later if we really needed it. But then we realized that Matt and Kate’s voices were the lead instrument, the thing the held each song together, and that was more exciting”. Live-tracked in one room, with each song captured in the course of only a few takes, THE REEF pulses with an electricity of feeling, an authenticity of moment vanishingly rare in contemporary recording. At center is the naked vulnerability in every weathered crack of Williams’ voice, cast out on the reef, calling out.