Singer-songwriter Jamion Williams doesn’t hide his love for the folk-rock storytelling of the ’60s and ’70s—instead, he embraces its rhythmic malleability in a way that pays homage to his influences while adopting a unique and refreshingly earnest acoustic perspective. He doesn’t meander in shallow sentimentality but wrangles a thoroughly coherent emotional depth which places him well above other artists whose own work in these sounds feels wholly without resonance.
On his previous release, 2016’s “Deep the Ocean,” Williams explored an introspective folk pop aesthetic, a shimmering brew of acoustic guitars, rumbling percussion and warbling keys; it was a joy to experience and dig into, and its wide spaces gave him the leeway to evolve in his own approach and production in regards to his musical inspirations. In the years since, there’s been no great stylistic divergence, only a refinement of the sounds that inhabit these expansive and emotionally volatile melodic worlds.
On his latest single, “Define,” he welcomes the Americana nuances into his acoustic rock inclinations. Through a mix of rural theatricality and lyrical insight, he suggests that we are all more than the simple sum of our experiences. Drums and bass thump in the background as Williams’ voice rises and threads itself carefully through these rhythmic movements. Our experiences can shape our viewpoint, but we aren’t bound by their weight. Through this veil of strums and meticulous melodies, he aims for a buoyant positivity, a way to see the best in ourselves despite the often overt influences of the world around us.
Just like “Deep the Ocean,” this track was recorded at Barefoot Music Productions in Chattanooga—Williams had production help from Kyle MacKillop and Drake Farmer. Jason Foster provided bass and drums while the mixing and mastering was handled by Chuck Harris. And it’s at the center of all these collaborations that the song’s true spirit is realized. “Define” works as both a self-realization and a forceful resistance to any sort of musical or emotional constraints. The combined talent and efforts behind the song act as a communal brace, giving it the necessary foundation on which to examine its own internal mechanisms and external influences.
Joshua Pickard covers local and national music, film and other aspects of pop culture. You can contact him on Facebook, Twitter or by email. The opinions expressed in this column belong solely to the author, not Nooga.com or its employees.