Michael Williams is a name not too many people will know unless they’re particularly tuned in to the modern rock/blues scene. He’s an artist from Texas who records with the Michael Williams Band, and he’s responsible for some of the better sounds in the blended genre from the last several years. Unfortunately he’s been quite quiet lately, with his last album coming out in 2011 and just a few tour dates in 2016. But just in case he’s done for a while, we wanted to shine a spotlight on him for those who might not know his music.
For starters, Fire Red in 2011 was a good enough album to feel like the start of something bigger. It was a high-energy, cohesive set of 10 tracks that perfectly blended blues and rock for a sound that felt simultaneously old school and refreshing. The album was received well, even if it didn’t skyrocket up the charts, with one critic coming right out and saying Williams would cement his status as a rising blues superstar. That certainly did seem like the case, and Fire Red undoubtedly expanded Williams’s fan base. Though again, he’s not the household name he might have seemed to be en route to becoming.
Perhaps the most intriguing thing about Williams to younger fans who aren’t familiar with his music will be his connection to Jimi Hendrix. That may sound a little bit counterintuitive, but Hendrix himself has had a little bit of a rebirth with younger generations. His hits songs have featured in numerous popular movies, and are even attached to a slot arcade you can find on the internet. Based on the legendary artist and his legendary guitar riffs, the game is all about Hendrix, and reaches a giant population of online gamers just looking for fun content. Adaptations like this have a way of keeping an artist around, so even for younger audiences a modern artist’s similarity or connection to a classic performer can be a very good thing.
Williams has that connection, and not purely because of his status as a rock/blues blended performer. Williams is actually known to be following in Hendrix’s footsteps at least to some degree. The artist’s bio on his band website mentions that he moved to Seattle to pay homage to Hendrix after his own father died, and in fact he went on to form the Michael Williams Band right there in town. The group independently released its first album, King Of The Dead, there, and Williams has since been known as a sort of indie Hendrix reborn.
That’s not to say he has the same skill with a guitar or the same pulse on society that Hendrix seemed to be blessed with. It’s fair to say that Williams’s lyrics are more generic and his riffs a little bit less daring. But stylistically the two artists still have a lot in common, and that speaks to just how easy and satisfying it is to listen to the Michael Williams Band. He’s one of the better rock/blues guitarists out there, and even now when he’s been relatively inactive for a while, you might want to give some serious thought to giving Fire Red a listen.