Kevin Williamson has been in the bluegrass music business for over three decades, playing with groups such as the Farm Hands Quartet, Glen Duncan and Phoenix, Dave Evans, the Country Gentlemen, and Bill Monroe. Now, from his homebase in Nashville, Williamson tours the country with his family band Williamson Branch. Along with Kevin on guitar and lead vocals, the group features his wife Debbie Williamson on lead vocals and mandolin, along with daughters Melody on lead vocals and fiddle, Kadence on bass and vocals, and Caroline on vocals.
You never know what you’re getting with a family band. Either it is cuteness and corn pone or a family that takes the music seriously and truly brings something to the table. Thankfully, Williamson Branch represents the latter. The first cut on Branchin’ Out is proof of that, with daughter Melody not only writing the song “Someday,” but also showing that her lead vocal and fiddling abilities are impressive. Kevin steps up with a good bluegrass song that harkens back to the genre’s roots with “The Miner’s Song,” backed up by newly-crowned IBMA Award winner Becky Buller on clawhammer banjo and Craig Fletcher on mandolin. Other highlights include “New River Train” with Barry Crabtree on banjo, and “I Was Raised In A Railroad Town” with Jeff Easter on harmonica.
Like many family albums with younger members, this is a bit uneven at times, but overall this is good bluegrass with solid musicianship. For me, the main theme of this project is that Melody has a big future in this business. With her songwriting, fiddling, and lead singing abilities already at a high level, she is one to watch as she grows older. (www.williamsonbranch.com)DH