Simplicity is top of the agenda when you first digest the music of Tiffany Williams. Yet peel away from the minimalist nature of a single voice, and the assortment of stringed acoustic instrumentation flickering in and out, reveals a deep thinking singer-songwriter pondering some primal feelings. In the case of this East Kentuckian now residing in Nashville, it is the complexities of movement and the endearing lure of your roots. If twenty minutes and five songs act as the audition, WHEN YOU GO is a wonderful introduction to an artist well-equipped to make serious moves in the world of country-folk.
The shortened EP format can be a double edged sword when it comes to assessing the impact of music. The length enables conclusions drawn quickly, but with the nagging doubt, whether the sample is representative. In the case of Tiffany Williams, there was an instant attraction that wavelengths are aligned, further compounded when adding the accompaniment of finding the lyrics on her website. The marriage of music and words is utterly compatible, in a way to light the fire of inspiring some kind thoughtful words.
Smitten by the sound is given an extra dimension when digging further into the background of Tiffany Williams. Being a coal miner’s daughter does not do any harm in traditional country circles and doubling up as a fiction writer alongside a self-assessed ‘lexophile’ puts you in a good place when it comes to penning thoughts. Of course, the path from writer to songwriter is not always clearly accessible, but in this case: melody, voice, feeling and inviting instrumentation suggests the transition has successfully navigated.
The record’s title also acts as the name of the first song where ‘When You Go’ tracks our writer’s Appalachian family home in Letcher Country, complete with warts and all recollections. The opening line of the chorus: ‘I worry that my best isn’t any good anywhere but here’ calls all self-doubters and compulsive in its frank honesty undertones. ‘Big Enough to Be a Mountain’ comes across as a love-homage to whoever/whatever amidst stretching the listener’s imagination. The writer gets deeper, perhaps pit shaft proportions, as we amble into the confessional tones of ‘You Were Mine’.
This is followed by further musings in ‘The Waiting’ as once again location and relationships entwine. In contrast to the EP title and opening track, the final song spins the tenses around with every possibility that ‘When I’m Gone’ will induce a touch of emotion as some final poignant reflections immaculately present in a similar vein to the whole body of this short record.
In releasing WHEN YOU GO, Tiffany Williams has succeeded by matching the ideals of what certain ears are listening out for when exploring the subtle, meaningful and literate world of country folk. Whether paths cross again is immaterial in the here and now, but more importantly, twenty minutes of captivating music hit the right spot.