Living Life. That’s Where Holly Williams Has Been. And Writing.

In 2013, the daughter of Hank Williams Jr. and granddaughter of Hank Williams had us all completely rethinking our depth charts when it comes to the Williams lineage in music with the release of her landmark record The Highway. Of course the musical pedigree runs deep in the Williams family, from Holly’s brother Hank3, to her younger half brother Sam, and her sister Hilary, all of whom have made a living as performers.

But previous to The Highway, Holly only seemed to have one foot in the music business, unsure if it was how she wanted to make her way through life, though still patently aware that her family’s lineage was probably her quickest way to recognition.

Her first two albums—The Ones We Never Knew in 2004 and Here With Me in 2009—were both released on major labels, and left one wondering about Holly’s true music identity. Neither were particularly commercially successful. But she really didn’t seem to align with the independent world of music either. She was neither here nor there, and without a proper home, her career just sort of drifted. 

2013’s The Highway released on her own Georgiana label changed all of that. Produced by Holly and Charlie Peacock, and written mostly by Williams herself, The Highway put Holly Williams smack dab in the middle of the revolutionary crop of young women emerging in independent country and Americana at that time. For some, it was one of the landmark records of the previous decade.

Afterwards, there was word that Holly Williams was working with producer Dave Cobb on a followup. This was around the time that Dave Cobb emerged as the hot name in independent country and Americana production. “We started it in February,” Holly said about the new album back in 2015. “I’ve been writing this summer and on tour a lot, so that kind of pushed it back … [Dave Cobb] is incredible.” Holly also appeared on the early 2016 Dave Cobb compilation called Southern Family. Throughout this time, she also became a fairly regular performer on the Grand Ole Opry.

But that long-promised Dave Cobb project never came, and her appearances on the Grand Ole Opry started to trail off. Soon it felt like she was as elusive as her brother Hank Williams III—who speaking of disappearing acts, has just about everyone else beat at the moment, and has many all-points bulletins out for him. Still, many are wondering what happened to Holly Williams?

It turns out the answer is quite simple, and whatever you want to know about her or her daily doings, she’s pretty much an open book. On March 8, 2016, Holly Williams gave birth to her second child, Lillie Mae Louise. And then on May 12th, 2017, she gave birth to her third child, and her first son. Her husband is fellow musician Chris Coleman. Since then, family has become the top priority for Holly, along with a boutique business.

Lately though, Holly Williams has taken to long-winded musings as both journal entries on her website, and more daily dispatches from her Facebook page. And beyond the predilection of peering into the occasional updates of your sister-in-law, old friend in high school, or ex on social media, Holly Williams is incredibly insightful, and the writing has value much beyond personal updates. At the moment, it’s her stock-in-trade. Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised. The Williams clan have always been predisposed to master strokes of the pen.

“Dr. Seuss once said ‘You never know the value of a moment until it becomes a memory,’ What poignant and stunning words,”
Holly Williams writes. “Aren’t we all simply trying to manage each moment to the best of our ability, yet it’s so challenging to stop and let it permeate, especially if there are little ones around. Whether we imprint it on our hearts at that moment, in the quiet of evening reflection, or even years later it all comes down to the fact that all we are really doing, every second of every day, is creating memories for ourselves and everyone around us.”

Specifically, the life of Holly Williams has gone through great turmoil over the last year, beyond what many of the rest of us have suffered from COVID-19. The Williams family lost Aunt Loretta on June 9th, 2020, who had been like a mother figure to Hank Jr. after Audrey had died, and a matriarch for the rest of the Williams family. Just three days later, Holly’s little sister, and Hank Jr.’s daughter Katie would die in a car accident, leaving two young children behind.

Holly felt compelled to stick around for the family in Tennessee for a while, but it also came at a time when she was moving with her family from Tennessee to the panhandle of Florida, where she resides now, trying to find a sense of normalcy after 2020.

“Writing a new page at each sunrise for our next chapter. I’m trying to grasp all these moments—the beautiful and the wretched-like old spring break Polaroids in my head,” she says. “And lord I’ve missed writing! There’ve been albums written, retail stores opened, concerts performed, houses renovated, plans upended, hearts shattered, three babies born in 2.5 years (Yes, I’m exhausted), the tragic loss of my little sister, the beautiful blossoming of itty bitty minds, and a large amount of life tucked inside this living of mine. I want to write it all down and remember … I hope you find some solace and joy in these words.”

So no, perhaps we shouldn’t hold our breath for that Dave Cobb-produced Holly Williams record to show up tomorrow. But Holly Williams is still around, sharing her old soul perspective with the rest of us in the best way she can, offering little insightful nuggets no different than the turns of phrase of a country tune, just in a way that fits her life and priorities at the moment, which are family, and making sure life doesn’t fly by so fast, she misses it … words of wisdom for all of us.

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