The ‘South Sounds’ concert series booked up-and-coming songwriters in an auditorium with floor to ceiling windows that looked out over the Long Island Sound. It was so close to New York City you could hear the resonant buzz of the Manhattan traffic. But it was far enough away that the dazzling blue of the water mingled with the lush green of the trees in a way that belied its location.
It was there, in 1992, that Brooks Williams and Sloan Wainwright met for the first time. Two up-and-coming newbies, Sloan on a beat-up school piano and Brooks on a cranky old Gibson guitar, both singing their songs and beguiling the audience with stories and tales. Soon these ‘up-and-comers’ were ‘arrivers,’ getting more and more known on the scene with album releases and tours. Life and careers often go in separate directions but over the years two remained in contact, sharing the stage when possible.
Now, for the first time, a Wainwright Williams Tour is finally in the works. One guitar, two voices, plus a shared love of roots music and original songs.
Singer-songwriter Sloan Wainwright is a dynamic performer who shifts with apparent ease between pop, folk, jazz and blues. Her rich contralto is warm, smokey and smooth and is the star attraction. Usually accompanied by a guitarist or her own piano, her songs are earthy, sometimes intense.
Her family tree (brother and folk-music luminary Loudon Wainwright, nephew Rufus Wainwright, nieces Martha Wainwright and Lucy Wainwright Roche) reads like a “who’s who” of contemporary folk music. Sloan carries the family tradition. She is a powerful and personable performer who oozes that Wainwright “charm and musicality.” With just shy of a dozen CDs in her discography, two songwriting awards from the annual EmPower Posi Music Awards, numerous musical compositions for theater and dance, Sloan is also highly praised as a teacher at many of the best-known master songwriter series and workshops, including Richard Thompson’s “Frets and Refrains.”
Brooks Williams is one of the most versatile musicians on the roots music scene today. He can turn his hand equally to blues, Americana and acoustic. With twenty-eight recordings and hundreds of shows every year, he is a musician of the highest calibre. Rated in the Top 100 Acoustic Guitarists with “a beautiful voice that you just melt into” (AmericanaUK), he has a knack for writing songs that are “sophisticated musically, and yet sound immediately familiar.”
A Statesboro, Georgia native now living in the UK, Williams is no stranger to the concert and festival stages in Europe, North America and the UK, including Liverpool’s Philharmonic Hall, Vienna’s JazzLand, Scotland’s Celtic Connections, the Shrewsbury Folk Festival, and New York’s legendary Caffee Lena. His music has charted on North America’s FOLKDJ, the EuroAmericana chart and Blues Lists around the world. WUMB-FM in Boston (USA) voted him one of their Top 100 Artists.