Molly Williams’ “Take Me Down to The River”

“Molly Williams has a voice like honey on fire. A voice like a velvet pick axe tearing down walls of complacency.” -HE

Holly Etchison
molly williams take me down to the river

out of 10

Molly Williams
Take Me Down to The River
January 1, 2011

Molly Williams has a voice like honey on fire. A voice like a velvet pick axe tearing down walls of complacency. A voice that, when unreined, could very well be considered a weapon of mass destruction to the powers that be.

Her first full length album (following the six song EP, Sacrifice) is a rollicking affair, a perfect storm of bluegrass/country medleys and punkish rock and roll; a collection of new fangled spirituals punctuated with unpredictable moments of golden sound. To quote the title song, “If you wade in this water / God’s gonna trouble the water.”

The first track “Change” gets right down to business. A happy mandolin transitions to electric guitar as easily as Molly goes from lyrical sweetness to a hoot-n-holler: “In this world there’s children dying / can’t we hear them crying for someone to save them / I wanna see change / move in my heart, make me burn / shake me down, tear me apart.

Beautifully interesting pauses vocally and instrumentally continue to take the listener somewhere else for a moment before each tune is landed. The “ohs” on “Never Close Your Eyes” sell the song. Halfway through “What He’s Like,” Molly shares a secret she’s in on, a whisper from heaven that sets things aright: “Your mercies are new every morning.”

Molly’s voice shines especially true on the slow songs: “All My Fountains” is worth the wait. A lilting chorus of “ohs” and “ahhs” at the end leaves you somewhere in heaven’s rafters. “Drink Your Cup” is a boldly humble declaration of faith and trust, a comforting echo to a lonely soul and a sweet swan song for the album.

Take Me Down to the River will have you shouting gimme that old time religion. Rather, don’t … I’ll take the new. Look out, Exene Cervenka and Allison Kraus (if the two of you should ever find yourselves in the same room that is). Molly Williams is a contender.