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Rachel Williams

About Rachel Williams: Rachel Williams likes her country music with generous helpings of straight-ahead slow-burners, big rock hooks and Motor City-bred rhythm and blues. And it just so happens that the Michigan-born singer has the pipes to straddle the genre-bending territory between southern-fried twang, heartbroken balladry and chugging, bottom-heavy grooves. With Lonely At the Bottom—her second full-length album—Williams unites the styles she loves in a potent and mature artistic statement. In a day when most albums average twelve tracks or less, Lonely boasts a lavish sixteen songs.
Songwriting is a relatively new addition to the twenty-one-year-old artists’ already formidable arsenal. Just a few years back she was relying on others for material (her debut, First Day Of The Truth, featured her first Nashville co-write, “Welcome To Love”), but she wrote or co-wrote twelve of the sixteen songs on Lonely. “It feels like I’ve been writing since I’ve been singing. I just never thought of myself as a strong songwriter until I moved down here and started working at it, constantly. I never thought that I’d be able to write as much as I have and to have the songs stand up against the stuff that we were being pitched by other songwriters,” she says. “I just couldn’t find anything that was beating what I was writing at the time. A lot of times, nobody knows what I want to say better than me.”
Assembling the album piece by piece, they enlisted a revolving crew of ace studio musicians, including several of Nashville’s most in-demand drummers, from Nick Buda (Taylor Swift, Mindy Smith) to Wayne Killius (Big and Rich, Steve Forbert), Brian Pruitt (Mark Chesnutt, LeAnn Rimes) and Owen Hale (Lynyrd Skynyrd, George Strait, Patty Loveless).
Williams had two significant things going for her from the start—a strikingly full-bodied voice and the conviction that she was born to be a performer. Her passion and raw talent only became clearer as she progressed from herding family members into the living room to witness her hairbrush/microphone mini-concerts to sweeping talent shows and choir competitions.
The budding siren conquered the club and fair circuits of Michigan and surrounding states in her teens, handling the bulk of booking responsibilities herself, but she finally gained national exposure as a top 15 finalist on the USA Network’s Nashville Star 2. Working as a waitress at the time the show aired, she soon became known to two million viewers as “that Cracker Barrel girl.”
After relocating to Nashville in late 2004, Williams began burning up the road with her band every chance she could get, touring with Jason Aldean, Sammy Kershaw and other acts, as well as playing numerous showcases around town. The setlist and the venues may change from night to night, but one thing remains constant—she’s dedicated to delivering a great stage show, the kind that wins over even the audience members who don’t typically like country music.
Williams’ focus on songwriting has begun to pay off in a big way as she’s logged co-writes with a host of well-respected writers, from Dave Berg, who scored number hits with Reba McEntire (“Somebody”) and Rodney Atkins (“If You’re Going Through Hell”), to Stewart Harris, who topped the charts with the Wynonna Judd smash “No One Else On Earth” and Travis Tritt’s “Can I Trust You With My Heart,” and Lisa Carver, who has had cuts with Sugarland, Tim McGraw, Reba McEntire, and Julie Roberts.. Many industry insiders are starting to take notice of Rachel’s songwriting talents as material for other country music stars as well, as several of her songs are currently being held for numerous major country recording artists.
In 2007 alone, this petite brunette can credit a pair of showcases, a handful of performances in the prestigious late night songwriters’ rounds at Nashville’s famed Bluebird Caf?—including her hosting debut—and a booth at Fan Fair—an important long-running feature of the CMA Music Festival—for having raised Williams’ profile in Music City. Her latest album promises to turn even more heads her way.
“I look at Bonnie Raitt, Reba McEntire and Wynonna, who’ve been here for decades—they’re not just plaques on the wall in the Hall of Fame. They’re still doing their thing and getting loads of respect. It would be so easy to become what the labels are looking for at this moment just to have a hit single on the radio, but those things have never been the end-all goal for me. I’m not going to apologize for my music. The way that we’re doing things might take a hell-of-a-lot longer, but in the end it’s going to last.”

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