Florida born and North Carolina raised, Davy Williamson’s debut single “Thin Disguise” is the work of a musical sensibility thoroughly immersed in hard rock. His background may lead listeners to assume Williamson mines southern rock traditions for songwriting use, but his brand of hard rock has far broader appeal than owing obvious debts to blues. Williamson’s songwriting further sets itself apart for its willingness to wrestle with themes of dysfunction. Another distinguishing characteristic of Williamson’s work is its longing for a sense of community. He writes for those who have experienced similar losses and changes; it gives his music an understated redemptive quality. “Thin Disguise” is an unique combination of fiery muscle and substantive personal statement boding well for Davy Williamson’s musical feature.
You hear he’s ready for the spotlight on his name from the outset. Longtime listeners to hard rock may pine for additional heft in the rhythm section attack, but the electric guitar playing is spot on throughout the track. Williamson works with a first class cadre of musicians sympathetic to his aims and possessing the necessary chops for capturing and holding listener’s attention. He largely eschews layering the recording with copious amounts of lead guitar but does punctuate the performance with searing soloing near the song’s end.
The lyrical content has a personal touch; hard rock is, stereotypically, the purview of subject matter praising physicality in some way, but Williamson utilizes the form as a vehicle for dramatic autobiographical statement instead. This is much more in keeping with alternative rock than traditional classic hard rock and the production further empathizes a modern yet muscular sound. “Thin Disguise”, at no point, ever sounds imitative or like a loving pastiche. It blazes, instead, with deep emotion.
His songwriting instincts are well-honed despite his youth. There’s no question Williamson has an attentive ear for what makes a compelling rock track but, moreover, knows just how much to give listeners and leave them wanting more. The first single for his debut EP is an excellent introduction to his talents and demonstrates the touch of a gifted musician, writer, and performer. There’s no sense of straining for effect. The only weakness, as mentioned earlier, is a matter of aural presentation rather than something amiss with his fundamentals.
It is his misfortune to debut during such fraught times. Let’s hope we do not lose stunning new releases such as Davy Williamson’s “Thin Disguise” in the chaotic clamor of a pandemic. Naysayers may squawk that rock is dead, but artists such as Davy Williamson are intent on carrying the torch for this music into the future with individuality and genuine fidelity to its guiding spirit. It’s always thrilling to come in on the ground floor of a new career and there’s a lot heard during “Thin Disguise” capable of convincing countless listeners that following Davy Williamson from here will prove to be a gripping ride. Let us hope his new EP release lands soon and Williamson can begin to thereafter carry his music to the widest possible audience.
by Bethany Page