Tom Williams returns
“Brilliant” – The Line of Best Fit
“A blistering rock return” – Clash
It’s a strange story. A folk-rock band – signed to Moshi Moshi, beloved of BBC 6 Music, support act to Adele – nearly make it in the business, but not quite. Their frontman packs it all in and turns to teaching, with no plans to make a record again. Then, in 2017, he produces the album of his career – with the help of some school children, and a group of first year students from Leeds.
Tom Williams, formerly helmsman of Tom Williams & The Boat, wrote his fifth album All Change in practice rooms across Kent, in breaks from teaching guitar and songwriting to primary and secondary school children. Lyrics came to him on the long daily drives from his home in Hastings. And the band? Music tech students, who helped him out on an artist-in-residence programme. Not that you can tell.
All Change is an album made on a shoestring that sounds like a big budget classic: a reflection of Williams’ life-long love affair with 1970s American rock showcasing a new refinement to his songwriting, and a more commercial edge – “a celebration of the big chord change and the emotional sucker-punch line,” as he puts it. Think Asbury Park by way of Hastings – an unexpected trump card from someone who’d put rock and roll dreams to rest.