RHYS WILLIAMS ANNOUNCES NEW ALBUM RELEASE
Following the critical acclaim surrounding his debut album, Rhys Williams announces the release of his highly anticipated follow-up
"A songwriter of some dexterity...the sheer melodic might means you barely notice he's tiptoeing through lyrical minefields"
- Q Magazine
Rhys Williams is a home-grown singer/songwriter whose musical craftsmanship exudes class and emotion. His debut album Great Falls garnered enviable critical acclaim; now he’s back with a follow up, ‘We Are Climbing Angel Mountain’. Released 3 March 2017, it’s a timeless songbook of melodic artistry and deft lyrical craft, and it’s arguably Williams’ best work to date.
Rhys Williams, born in Wales and based in London, has sung in the Royal Albert Hall, recorded at Abbey Road, and even once played the flute for Morrissey. He contributed a one-minute flute solo to the multi-platinum You Are The Quarry album. It was variously described as ‘striking’ by Radio 4, ‘delightful’ by Q Magazine and ‘horrific’ by the NME.
We Are Climbing Angel Mountain sees Williams at his most honest and heartfelt. The album was born after he fell ill, stopped drinking, and lost his mother in a matter of months. Each event could have been life-changing in itself. Together, they prompted him to step back and rethink every aspect of his life. He recalibrated himself, peeling away all the unnecessary layers of life, and this album is the result. It’s warm, soulful and real – a truthful document of some raw experiences and emotions, shrink-wrapped into delicious slices of perfect pop.
The album’s bookended by two songs which deal directly with the loss of his mother. The title track We Are Climbing Angel Mountain, describes a climb up Carn Ingli, an imposing mountain in Pembrokeshire where Rhys’ family paid their last respects. The closer Long After The Light describes the night she passed away, and serves as a personal and heart-wrenching tribute to an ‘all-powerful, unshakeable love’. Elsewhere on the record, songs like Sad Saints and Come Outside explore the after-effects of excess, while Brandy Head and Zeroes and Ones tell stories of fractured relationships and online isolation. There’s light relief as The Fortress Of Solitude celebrates geeks getting girls against the odds. And there’s even a tale of cosmic coincidence inspired by a game of Scrabble, in the form of the lilting Play Jane With Your Last Move.
The first single to be taken from the album, The Side That Nobody Sees, really sets the tone – it’s a song about bringing secrets into the open. It was played on BBC Radio 2, A-listed on BBC Radio Wales and was described by Classic Rock’s Siân Llewellyn as a ‘sublime slice of pop genius’. Catchy, compelling and refreshingly candid, pop doesn’t get better than this.
Caerphilly-born Rhys Williams was raised from birth on a staple diet of music. His parents owned four albums – the Beatles’ Red and Blue albums, Abba’s Greatest Hits and Simon and Garfunkel’s Greatest Hits. He argues that no one needs any more music than that in their lives. It served as a blueprint for everything he’s created since.
He wrote his first song aged 10. That Christmas, his parents had bought a home organ – the kind that occupied a third of the house. By January, he’d tamed the beast and already started making his own music. By the time he was a university student in Sheffield, he was presenting his own cult radio show, called The Three Minute Mile and only featuring songs lasting 180 seconds or less. At the same time, Rhys joined The Ankle Stars, who were practically the house band at the iconic Leadmill venue. They supported the likes of Supergrass, Strangelove and Shed Seven and in doing so, attracted the attention of Boz Boorer, former Polecats guitarist and now Morrissey’s musical director. He produced the band, managed them, and released a number of their singles on his own label. And he later invited Rhys to play on Morrissey’s You Are The Quarry album. Rhys also performed live with Morrissey at his triumphant Manchester comeback gig that year, immortalised in the Who Put The M in Manchester live DVD.
Rhys was still driven by a desire to write and record his own material. So he embarked on his first solo project. He wrote and rehearsed for two years, before travelling to the USA to record Great Falls with producer Thomas Johansen. Released by Right Track Records, ‘Great Falls’ garnered phenomenal media reviews from the likes of Q, Uncut and R2 and produced three singles, all to great radio support. To date, it’s received 3 million plays on Spotify.
Now he’s made ‘We Are Climbing Angel Mountain’ which is sure to win him plaudits. Rhys produced the record along with Mark Ferguson. It was recorded in reassuringly vintage settings, including RAK Studio 1 and Ray Davies’ KONK Studios in Crouch End. It features lush strings arranged by Sally Herbert (Plan B, Florence and the Machine, Bernard Butler), and it was mixed by Richard Woodcraft (Radiohead, The Last Shadow Puppets) and mastered by Frank Arkwright (The Smiths, Coldplay, Belle and Sebastian) at Abbey Road.
It’s a beautiful, affecting listen from start to finish. Enjoy getting to know Rhys Williams.
‘We Are Climbing Angel Mountain’ is released on March 3 2017 on Right Track Records
For more information visit: www.rhyswilliamsmusic.com
For tickets to the album launch visit: http://www.wegottickets.com/event/385772
To purchase the album: https://www.amazon.co.uk/WE-ARE-CLIMBING-ANGEL-MOUNTAIN/dp/B01NCLZ3KL