State of the Union (Boo Hewerdine & Brooks Williams)
"Beautiful, classy playing and great songs" - Acoustic Magazine
“Americana at its finest!” - fRoots
STATE OF THE UNION will return with their third album for Reveal Records in Autumn 2017 and concert tour.
Combining the mercurial talents of English songwriting legend Boo Hewerdine and acclaimed American Blues guitarist and songwriter Brooks Williams, State of the Union create a magical, stripped back and enthralling musical atmosphere, their performances consistently brilliant, equal parts emotive and entertaining.
The original songs Hewerdine and Williams play are infused by a multitude of influences, from Willie Nelson to Johnny Cash, from the wide open Fenlands to the frenetic buzz of the city. Their recordings are made quickly, in most instances first take, live in the studio, but the sound this amazing acoustic duo capture is rich and expertly executed.
About Boo Hewerdine & Brooks Williams
Boo is perhaps best known from his years fronting much loved English rock band The Bible but he has since enjoyed a solo career spanning over two decades and written thousands of published songs including those for Eddi Reader, Sia, Chris Difford, Kris Drever and KD Lang. His most recent album “Swimming In Mercury” is due out in February 2017 on Reveal Records.
Brooks Williams got his start in the clubs and bars in Boston USA (the same music scene that years earlier sparked the careers of Bonnie Raitt and Chris Smither) and from there he has toured in ever-widening circles for nearly three decades. In 2013 Williams was nominated best male vocalist by the UK’s foremost roots-music mavens, Spiral Earth. AmericanaUK says, “he has a beautiful voice that you just melt into.” He’s also ranked in the Top 100 Acoustic Guitarists. Over the years he has picked alongside Taj Mahal, John Hammond, Paul Jones, Little Feat, Maria Muldaur, Shawn Colvin and Leo Kottke, to name but a few.
More about State of the Union, In conversation
How did you meet and when did you start playing music together?
Brooks: “Boo invited me to step in last minute to play at his annual Christmas concert. I played a solo set and then sat in with Boo for a few songs. Even though we had never played together before it had a real magic feel to it. I think both of us knew there was something unique happening and worth exploring”.
Boo: “Brooks came and played at one of my Christmas shows when there was so much snow my other guests couldn’t make it! It was magic and we decided to do more. We had actually met once before when Brooks interviewed me for a guitar magazine. Which is a bit like Muhammad Ali interviewing Eddie The Eagle….He is a guitar master!”.
What are the main differences in your guitar styles / playing and approach to songwriting?
Brooks: “On paper our two worlds are pretty far apart, but somehow we’re able to bring them together. It’s an overused phrase but I believe there is some real musical magic in State Of The Union. I like to think it gives us both the opportunity to showcase our ‘expected’ strengths, but also to explore and dig in to the other aspects of our music. In a way SOTU is an alter-ego”.
Boo: “Brooks is a bluesman (of great subtlety) from Georgia and I was in an 80’s indie band….and yet it worked right away. I think the route of why it works musically is both of us have a love of good time… a sense of rhythm. And we both love the craft of writing”.
What do you enjoy most about the duo’s live performances?
Brooks: “It’s the whole package - getting to create a pretty big sound with just two guitars and two voices. Audiences from our earlier tours know what I mean. It’s fun. It’s big. And I’m not aware of anyone else doing it exactly like SOTU”.
Boo: “It feels so much more than the sum of the parts…whenever we revisit SOTU it kicks into gear with ease, in a spooky way!”.
What does State of The Union mean / why did you pick this band name ?
Brooks: “Boo came up with the name. It represents us pretty well, I think. Two distinctly different musicians from different parts of the world with two different sets of influences coming together and making music. And even though on paper it shouldn’t work, there’s so much shared inspiration that it takes on a pretty cool life of its own”.