Siler City resident Tony Williamson is a man of many musical parts: songwriter, vintage instrument dealer, vocalist, and rare virtuoso of classical, jazz and bluegrass mandolin. Although Williamson has been one of the area's most respected musicians for some 30 years, and now a formidable figure in classical mandolin circles, Still Light of the Evening marks his first all-bluegrass outing as bandleader. Williamson plays with an intense sense of melody and an exquisite appreciation of the space between the notes. Influenced by Bill Monroe, Jethro Burns, Django Rheinhardt, and Dave Apollon, Williamson dazzles when need be, but more often plays from within himself, with lovely results. He and his brother, Gary Williamson, are one of most sincere and effective bluegrass-singing duos alive.
The album boasts a cast of equally exploratory artists--musicians who cut their teeth on traditional bluegrass: Rex McGee, Larry Perkins, Don Wright and original Seldom Scene bassist Tom Gray. Williamson and company cut Still Light of the Evening at Maryland's high-end audiophile Maple Shade studios on live-to-two-track analog tape. This technique works brilliantly for all acoustic bluegrass, preserving the warmth and soul of the instruments and their players.
From hot picking to soulful vocals to simple gospel songs, the Williamson Brothers Band explores the abundant and surprisingly diverse resources of traditional bluegrass music. The 15 titles include public domain fiddle tunes and bluegrass and gospel standards, complemented by five Williamson compositions that fit perfectly with the old songs. Outstanding among the originals are the title tune, a poetic and slow-tempo heart-tugging ballad, and the gloriously ancient sounding "Boatman." The singing proves down-to-earth and moving, while the playing reaches the highest levels of a most demanding genre, far exceeding most of the mainstream contemporary bluegrass being released these days.
Still Light of the Evening is available from www.mapleshaderecords.com)