A review for the Folk & Acoustic Music Exchange
By Geoffrey Huys
Over the years and the past several albums, as I've listened to Brooks Williams I've always had a question in my mind concerning whether he was more a singer/songwriter or an instrumental guitarist. On previously released works he has demonstrated brilliance in one form or the other, but with his latest album KNIFE EDGE, I think I've personally settled the issue. He is definitely both. In his latest release Williams demonstrates both a nearly flawless instrumental technique as well as finely crafted and performed vocal music.
Knife Edge was released on the Green Linnet label in the latter half of 1995 following his release the previous year of Inland Sailor. Williams' latest work contains an incredible sixteen tracks including four instrumentals and an additional dozen new songs. Williams wrote all but two of the songs he recorded and on those he has certainly left his mark.
The songs include:
Interspersed throughout the album are four instrumentals where Brooks Williams displays his remarkable skills as a solo guitarist playing acoustic, bottleneck slide, and National resolectric guitar. "Lee's Highway" was inspired by a stretch of Virginia road on which Williams has frequently traveled, and I can see it as he lays down the notes. "When The Dentist Dreams" is Williams' interpretation of what dentists must do when they finally lay down to rest. "Goodbye Walker Percy" is a fine instrumental tribute to this wonderful performer flavored with a sense of life in Louisiana and the Deep South.
If you're a Brooks Williams fan you have probably already purchased this album and I've been preaching to the choir. If you have not yet been introduced to the music of this wonderful New England performer, you can do no better than to start with this latest album. KNIFE EDGE was one of my top ten album picks of 1995 and stands as what I think is Brooks Williams' finest work to date. The greatest challenge for Brooks Williams may be to create a next album that will be the equal of this one.