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Holly Go Darkly

Legacies can be a blessing or a curse. How often do you see children wilt under the pressure of trying to be just like their parents? Can you imagine the number of times Holly Williams has been compared to her father and grandfather, Hank Jr. and Hank Sr., throughout her life? But Williams has risen to the challenge over the last decade and established herself as a notable singer-songwriter on her own merits. 

Her latest record, The Highway, leans more toward folk and Americana than the country strains of her forebears, though the content of these songs would not be out of place on such records. The simple folk number “Drinkin’” soberly takes a man to task for his addictions and unfaithful ways while “Happy” highlights Williams’ lack of desire to go out and have frivolous fun or go on blind dates. The echoing Americana title track proclaims Williams’ love for life on the road despite it keeping her away from home. American Songwriter called The Highway Holly Williams’ “most accomplished, mature and world weary album,” and it is hard to argue with the results.

Williams’ pedigree and considerable talent as both a singer and songwriter make her a logical tour partner for the legendary John Hiatt. Hiatt’s 20-plus albums are laced with the blues, country, rock and soul, and his lyrics demonstrate his ability to mine the depths of human emotion just like Williams does; these two are cut from the same cloth. Expect this show to pack quite the emotional punch.

Holly Williams will open for John Hiatt & The Combo 7:30 pm Tuesday, July 16, at The Shedd; $31.25-$59.25.