Holly Williams is the kind of poetic songwriter country music once embraced. These days, the powerfully sensitive songs featured on her new album, “The Highway,” are relegated to the independent Americana genre that exists outside of the arena-rock formulas of country radio.
The strength of Williams' songwriting and the subtle emotions in her husky, expressive voice suggest she is following in the cross-genre paths of Mary Chapin Carpenter and Kathy Mattea — or the country side of Neil Young and Lyle Lovett.
Writing of struggles with family and faith, of living a transient life and of dealing with faithfulness and problematic men, Hank Williams' granddaughter uses personal experiences to explore universal issues.
Amid a raw yet seamless blend of piano, acoustic guitar and subtle rhythms and sonic accents, her songs seek something true amid the bumps and bliss of daily life. She makes listeners feel why that search is important.