Even though it wasn’t easy for her, hear one brave woman’s journey out of darkness as she overcomes. #JoyWilliams #O2O
Poison & Wine is about a complicated relationship. The two love each other, yet fight constantly. They always go back to one another. The songs lyrics go:
You only know what I want you to
I know everything you don’t want me to
Oh your mouth is poison, your mouth is wine
You think your dreams are the same as mine
Oh I don’t love you but I always will
Maybe you are like me and know Joy Williams as one half of the four-time Grammy-winning folk-rock duo The Civil Wars. Until their 2012 hiatus (and eventual break up in August 2014) the singer-songstress rarely revealed herself, except through the duo’s music.
On her new solo album, VENUS, (out June 29) she changes all that. Joy was intent to tell a more honest, human story of one woman’s journey out of darkness.
Over 11 unstintingly honest songs, she unabashedly recounts what occurred in her life over the past two and a half years. She doesn’t try to defend or explain, but instead tells a simple straightforward story of events, sparing no one, especially herself.
You might call it a coming-of-age album, but it is so much more than that. It shows how one woman has come to live her truth — the good, the bad, the petulant, the honorable — and in the end, shows all of us how to live our own.
My favorite songs on the album are “Before I Sleep” and “Until the Levee.” Knowing Joy’s voice and the feel of The Civil Wars’ music, these two seemed like a great transition or bridge into her solo project. Joy said “ ‘Before I Sleep’ was the very first song I wrote for the record, and it just felt like the right place to start from. A continuation on my musical path.”
Check out the video Woman (Oh Mama):
You can order the album on iTunes and Amazon.
Connect with Joy:
- Official Joy Williams website: www.joywilliams.com
- Twitter – @joywilliams
- Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/joywilliamsmusic
- YouTube – https://www.youtube.com/user/JoyWilliamsVEVO
- Instagram – https://instagram.com/joy__williams/
Joy was recently interviewed and shared insight into the new album, The Civil Wars, making music, and transformations.
Q: Your new album is about to come out. How are you feeling about it right now?
A: It feels like I’m reclaiming myself. I identified so much with The Civil Wars that when it went away I had to process the myth that I’d been a part of creating, free myself of that, and rediscover my own voice. Working through that really opened me up. In finding my voice I found myself again.
Q: How does it compare to The Civil Wars’ two albums?
A: I took the best parts of what I learned in The Civil Wars and … made something that was completely different. I wanted to stretch, expand, grow and challenge myself.
Q: Are there any similarities, or did you want to distance yourself as far as possible from The Civil Wars?
A: No, I’m proud of what John Paul and I did together. I feel that a couple of the songs on VENUS are a bridge to some of the things we did with The Civil Wars. “Before I Sleep” and “Until the Levee” both felt like the gentlest way to bring in people that may have been aware of The Civil Wars before, with the an-tiqued imagery-laden lyrics and the sonics that we created around it. It wasn’t some sort of calculated thing, just a natural progression. “Before I Sleep” was the very first song I wrote for the record, and it just felt like the right place to start from. A continuation on my musical path.
Q: How did making music change for you?
A: I’m not cleaning closets now. I’m letting things be messy. I feel like I went to a deeply inward process. Before I felt more comfortable writing in metaphors, until I met Matt Morris. During one of our very first writes, he said to me “You are so afraid to say anything wrong that you are risking not saying anything at all. You’ve got to be brave. If you’re feeling mad as hell, then we’re going to write a mad-as-hell song. If you’re feeling broken beyond measure, we’re going to write a broken-beyond-measure song.” Something locked in for me. Then he asked, “How are you feeling right now?” And with tears in my eyes I just looked at him and said, “ I’d love to write a happy song. One day I will.” Matt said, “That’s a great way to start a song. What next?” He told me to put my laptop away and just talk. So I did. Not one single line from “One Day I Will” was overly woven or crafted. It was literally me, just talking, one line at a time. And that’s pretty much how writing the rest of the record went after that.
Q: What was your intention in making this album?
A: To heal. To find my own voice again and to stand on my own two feet. I wanted it to reflect what I’ve gone through. I wanted to make a personal album that people could find their own stories in, too. It wasn’t easy, but I wanted to be brave enough to write through it. Then move beyond it.
Q: How would you describe VENUS?
A: For me, it’s my coming-of-age album, becoming the woman I’ve always wanted to be.
I love how the name of the album “just came” to Joy. It reminds me of the book “Men are From Mars, Women are From Venus.”
Q: How did you know it was time to write again?
A: To get back to the business of making music? I began when I felt like I would burst at the seams if I didn’t start putting words and melodies together. I started getting irritable. Hard to live with. At times I’ve been a reluctant artist; it’s not pleasurable to write generally. I feel like I’m putting my hand down my throat to take my pulse. To feel my own heart beating. In order to get something good, I have to reach down into myself and scrape around. But this time, in the absence of The Civil Wars, I had to find a way to con-tinue to create. And I did.
Q: They say novelists return to the same theme in their writing. Did you find that was the same for you?
A: One word that I live my life by is authenticity. I ask myself “Is it true to me, even if only to me?” That was what connected the songs for me. If it wasn’t true, it didn’t get on the album.
Q: Are there themes that tie this record together?
A: Acceptance. Transcendence. Trans-formation. Letting go of things that don’t serve you.
In case you have never heard The Civil Wars song Poison & Wine, here you go:
I participated in the Joy Williams Venus album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided an album to review but all opinions are my own.