So far as country music goes, you’d be hard-pressed to find an artist with a better pedigree than Holly Williams. The granddaughter of Hank Williams, the daughter of Hank Williams Jr., and the half-sister of Hank Williams III, she has pure country music royalty flowing through her veins.
But just like her father and her half-brother, Holly’s presence in the national scene is no mere product of nepotism—rather, her skills as a goosebump-inducing performer and awe-inspiring songwriter have earned her her very own place in the annals of country music history. First debuting with her 2004 record, The Ones We Never Knew, she kept up the family tradition of being the originator of inimitable country songcraft.
In 2013, she put out her masterpiece record, The Highway, capturing the heartfelt ethos of her grandfather while also showing off her honest writing sensibilities, which might be a bit more akin to someone like John Prine than, say, the descendants of the commercial industry her grandfather helped launch into a new era all those decades ago.
Lucky for us, American Songwriter got a firsthand view of just how incredible and candid Holly can be as a performer—8 years ago, around the time of the record’s release, she stopped into the American Songwriter offices for a stripped-back rendition of one of her highlight tracks: “Waiting On June,” an ode to her other grandparents.
“I wrote this for my grandparents on my mom’s side,” Holly explained before playing the song. “Obviously, the Williams family gets focused on, but I didn’t know my grandparents on my dad’s side… so my mom’s parents really had a huge effect on me and helped raise me. They lived on a little farm in Louisiana. They were together 56 years—through war and four babies. I lost both of them before this new record. This is the story from my papaw to my granny.”
With a beautiful rasp in her voice and a wholesome air of love and appreciation illuminating the room, the performance is a gem. The heir of one of the greatest legacies in music history, Holly has risen to the occasion as an artist and songwriter, and this performance of “Waiting On June” is a testament to that.
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