Williams & Clark Expedition, the Franklin, Kentucky-based quartet, has announced the forthcoming release of their latest CD, Brand New Set Of Blues, due on May 15.
The band comprises a former member of Lester Flatt’s Nashville Grass and a Blue Grass Boy for 10 years, banjo-player Blake Williams, award-winning mandolin player Bobby Clark, Wayne Southwards (lead vocals and guitar) and Kimberly Williams (lead vocals and bass). All four had strong credentials working in the country music and bluegrass fields before joining forces in 2002.
Brand New Set Of Blues is the band’s fifth album; it features 13 songs, 10 of which are originals written by members of the band, plus a bonus comedy track.
Kimberly Williams provides some background information ‚Ä¶‚Ä¶.
“Our band is an equal partnership among the four of us so when it comes time to pick songs for the project, we work as a democracy. We each bring material that we think would be a good fit for the band and then we all have to agree on what we think is the best. Obviously we strive to put as much of our own material that is original to our band members as possible but that doesn’t mean that just because one of us wrote it, that it will get recorded. It has to be really good and we each hold ourselves and each other accountable to that.
We always pick a traditional bluegrass tune that is not being overdone and record it to keep close to our bluegrass roots. On this project we recorded the Stanleys’ Ridin’ That Midnight Train. We also make sure we have a couple of good gospel tunes on it as well. We have two on this project, Marching, written by Blake, and Travelin’ Heaven’s Road, a real barn-burner that he and I wrote together. Bobby Clark and Blake each contribute an instrumental to the project, too. [namely Jalape?±o Quickstep and Highlands Ramble].
I was personally afforded a great opportunity with this project by having Claire Lynch come in and sing on a song I recorded written by Blake and Wayne called Heaven On Earth. That was a dream come true for me to be able to sing with one of my musical heroes! Our buddy Kevin Shultz of Midnight Flight pitched a song to us that he and a friend wrote and it just fit perfectly for this project. Wayne sings it and it is called Lifetime Of Love.
We also did a couple of different things on this project. Blake and Wayne had written a swing tune [namely Goodbye Heartache (Hello You)] about four years ago and we have performed it a couple of times on stage. We decided it would be fun to put it on this project and bring in our good friend Buck White to play some ‘Texas’ piano. He outdid himself on this and we are really proud of it. We also had been performing Tennessee Waltz at some of our shows and had a lot of requests for it to be recorded so we decided to add it to the project for the fans.
As always, we brought in Tim Crouch to play fiddle on the project. Tim has recorded with us since the very first project and works with us a couple of times a year. We consider him our honorary fifth member.’ And, of course, no project by Williams & Clark Expedition would be complete without a bonus comedy track by Blake.
As a general rule, we try to present an album that is as close to what folks would get if they came to see us perform live, as possible. We sing original material, traditional bluegrass, throw in a couple of instrumentals and top it off with Blake’s side-splitting humor. We want our crowds to feel they have been entertained when they see us on stage, and we want them to be entertained when they listen to our CDs in their car or at home.”
Note: Five of the tracks from the new CD can be heard on the band’s MySpace page.