Friday, June 19, 2015

Review: VENUS by Joy Williams

Thanks to OnetoOne Network (#O2O) I've been listening to this new #JoyWilliams album quite a bit recently.  I am enjoying it very much.

You may know Joy Williams as one half of the four-time Grammy-winning folk-rock duo The Civil Wars. That duo broke up in August of last year, and Joy Williams is set to release her solo album VENUS on June 30th. 

VENUS tells an honest, human story of one woman’s journey out of darkness.  I haven't quite caught all the lyrics, and the one time I checked out the Official Joy Williams website, they were not available.  Even so, I have found quite a few that really grabbed me - "...gather up my fears and throw them in the fire."  "standing in the ache until the levee in my heart breaks."

The breakthrough for Joy in writing the songs for this album came when Matt Morris (co-writer and co-producer on this album) said to her, “You are so afraid to say anything wrong that you are risking not saying anything at all. You’ve got to be brave. If you’re feeling mad as hell, then we’re going to write a mad-as-hell song. If you’re feeling broken beyond measure, we’re going to write a broken-beyond-measure song.”  And so she did.  Joy actually wrote over 75 songs for this album, though only 11 of them made the actual album.  (I wonder will we see some of these in the future?)

I have enjoyed Joy's journey, as she starts with miles to go before she sleeps and finally ends up home.  Along the way she faces pain, heartache, and the impossibility of perfection.  She learns that it's OK not to be perfect, gives herself permission to feel all the things, and embraces the fact that it means so many things to be a woman.  It's a very personal album that Joy hopes people will find their own stories in, too.
The whole emphasis of my new album VENUS is I’m discovering what it means to be a woman. It’s not necessarily the things I was taught. It’s the things I’m learning on my own. The good, the bad and the ugly is all in there. To be strong and to be weak, and to be scared and to be bold, and to be angry and to forgive, and to be broken and to break open, and break through, and to be hurt and to do the hard work to heal. That’s the type of woman I want to be.
It took a lot of courage to expose herself to all of us in such a way - and so beautifully.  I love the haunting quality of her voice in some of the songs and the different emotions that the music brings forth. Overall, a lovely journey that I will be repeating.

Though I found something to like in all the tracks, I especially liked the upbeat, almost tribal feel of this song, Woman (Oh Mama):

Venus is available June 30. Get your copy on Amazon or iTunes.  I think you're gonna love it.

I participated in the Joy Williams Venus album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided an album to review but all opinions are my own.