Album Review — Hilary Williams — Hilary Williams
Many artists will say that blood, sweat, and tears go into their first album. Few, however, mean it literally. For Hilary Williams, the long-awaited release of her self-titled EP is just that, a culmination of a painful physical comeback.
While driving to her grandfather’s funeral with sister Holly in 2006, Hilary lost control of her SUV on Mississippi’s historic Highway 61. She broke both legs, an ankle, her collarbone, tailbone, pelvis, a femur, and three ribs. Her colon was ruptured and her lungs bruised. A miraculous effort by EMTs, 23 surgeries, and years of painful physical therapy and bring you to a (nearly) healthy Hilary today. While that back-story might seem excessive, and perhaps not feel necessary for a five-song EP, it’s such a key part of the music she has chosen to put forth on this new record.
The most telling and revealing of the five tracks is “Sign of Life,” a terrific first-person retelling of her accident, her gratefulness for those that saved her life, and, interestingly, gratefulness for the pain: “Maybe pain is a sign of life / A little blessing for a little strife / And it’s something we have to find / To give us meaning / To let us know we’re alive / We’re alive / We’re alive.”
Another important track is a story of healing, “World Without Hope.” In light of her arduous recovery, the lyric “I don’t want to live in a world without hope,” resonates. Produced in a style that owes more to the modern country movement than anything her family has produced, “World Without Hope” feels like some of Martina McBride’s positive affirmation songs, but with more substance.
Beyond that, there’s a Sheryl Crow-like vibe on “West Hollywood Monday Mornings,” a song about her acting aspirations and life in Los Angeles. This track doesn’t give her vocals room enough to stretch like the other songs on the EP do. While the story is good, delivery feels short. After revealing so much on those three songs, Williams’ two others feel generic in comparison. “Get Out Of My Way” and “Casino” aren’t bad, they just could be covered by anyone.
Williams has carried on the “family tradition” in a style that is uniquely hers. Here’s hoping that she has more opportunities down the road to tell more of her inspirational story.
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