Meg Williams – Take Me As I Am – The Muscle Shoals Sessions
NOLA Blues Records – 2019
12 tracks; 46 minutes
Nashville-based singer/songwriter Meg Williams made a good impression with her 2017 EP Maybe Someday and now follows that up with a full-length album recorded at FAME Studios in Muscle Shoals, Alabama. Meg wrote all the songs, with assistance on four from Chase Walker, Terry Goose Downing, Scott Barrier, Jenny Teator and Claire Kelly; two songs from the 2017 EP (“I Feel A Heartache Coming On” and “Little Bit Of The Devil”) have been re-recorded here. Meg is on vocals/guitar, Dan Wecht guitar/slide guitar (with Will McFarlane also on three tracks), Bob Wray bass, Justin Holder drums, Clayton Ivey organ (replaced on one track by Brad Kuhn) and Sara Rogers backing vocals.
Meg can put on a ‘little girl’ tone to her vocals, allowing her to sound teasing at times, as on mid-paced chugger “Played By The Blues”, or seductive, as on “Make A Move”, where her femme fatale persona comes across well. However, she is equally at home on a full-on soul piece like “I Feel A Heartache Coming On” a strong cut with swirling organ, choral vocals and plenty of dramatic guitar riffs. Indeed, there is a lot of guitar on the album, both with and without slide, for which credit goes to both Meg and Dan. “Sometimes I Need You Too” builds from an opening ballad section to a coda that brings the Allman Brothers to mind with Dan’s sweeping slide work.
Opener “You Can Come On Over To Me” is mid-paced, a plea for love with nice slide accents. The title track leans to the country side of the tracks as Meg looks for people who will accept her as she is, not a girl about to change to please others. However, most of the album is upbeat, as on “Tell Everybody” where Meg adds her Gibson to Dan’s slide for an exciting ride, a country-rocker with attitude in the lyrics as Meg “wants the world to know what I am feeling”. “Shame” brings a dose of funk to the album as the two rhythm guitars joust and a pretty wild solo comes in over the top and “Little Bit Of The Devil” also has a strong core riff and more strong slide as Meg plays the wild woman.
Not a straight blues album by any means but enough soul and Rn’B references to satisfy this reviewer at least!
It’s an album that grows on you with repeat listening. Those who enjoy slide guitar will be well served here but the songs are good too and Meg puts them across with commitment.