NASHVILLE, Tenn. (January 29, 2021) — Acclaimed songwriter, composer and artist, H. Jack Williams has recorded and released an impassioned rendition of the well known song, “What A Wonderful World.” The song originally released by Louis Armstrong was inducted in the Grammy Hall of Fame in 1999. Compelled by the events our world and country has been going through, the timing seemed appropriate to share H. Jack Williams version. The song and video were recorded, produced and directed at Gilded Palace Studio by Adam Box, best known for his work with the country duo Brothers Osborne. Watch the video on YouTube here.
“Adam Box has a very distinct gentle way of making me feel completely at ease with singing a song like this,” expressed H. Jack Williams. “In reality you would have to either have a monster ego, which I do not have, or be crazy to try to sing a song that was originally recorded and performed by someone so unique and awesome as Louis Armstrong, but Adam had the idea that if we made it our own way and mixed beauty and tragedy and had beauty come out on top, then hopefully even Louis Armstrong would give me the green light to sing it.”
“When we were commissioned to take a stab at “What A Wonderful World,” I thought “of course! I can’t think of a better song for Jack,” stated Producer, Adam Box. “Whatever was going on in Louis Armstrong’s voice, Jack has a jagged version of the same. While there is no shortage of virtuoso singers that you can tune and time, there’s no substitute for the unique vocal style of H. Jack Williams. With this song and video, I wanted to accentuate the contrast between the hostility of human nature and the natural inclination toward reconciliation. I wanted the contradiction of the lyrics and the visuals to compel the viewer to think, force the inevitable confrontation, and finally extend an invitation of peace.”
When Jack’s publisher suggested to him that he do a version of “Wonderful World” for them to have to pitch for TV and Film placement, it was the first time he had ever sung or recorded a cover, the project took on a life of its own and seemed like it was bigger than just a song to pitch. It was actually a statement he could make musically about how he felt about the state of our country. While there may be moments where things were extremely dark he believed that in the end good always overcomes evil and that love and beauty prevail. This is what H. Jack Williams hopes everyone who watches this video takes away from it.
Stay current with H. Jack Williams on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Jack’s music is available for streaming on Spotify, Apple Music and YouTube Music. Download on Amazon Music and iTunes. Watch video content on YouTube and stay current with all updates on his website hjackwilliamsmusic.com/
About Jack Williams:
You’d be hard-pressed to find a life, a career or a body of work quite like that of singer, songwriter, performer, composer H. Jack Williams. Jack himself credits equal parts luck, talent and tenacity. “My whole life, I’ve gone out and gotten stuff done,” he says. “I think I have unique emotional connections within me, and I’ve always found a way to make that connection musically.” But for one of Nashville’s hardest working songwriters and most in-demand co-writers – and now with flourishing work in film and television, it’s been a one-of-a-kind 40+ year ride with some of the biggest names in Folk, Rock and Country. And in many ways, he’s just getting started.
Raised in the tiny town of Eureka, Florida, Williams began writing songs shortly after his 1971 discharge from the US Marines Force Recon. It was while working in Atlanta as a trained Escoffier chef and moonlighting as a roadie that Williams went after his first break by knocking on Richie Havens’ hotel room door. “Actually banged on it all night long,” Jack laughs, “until he opened the door and I handed him a cassette.” The Woodstock icon invited Jack to New York City to be his opening act, eventually playing on and producing the demo that got Jack a $500 advance from Clive Davis (who insisted on first playing Jack the demo of ‘Mandy’). By 1974, Jack was back cooking in Atlanta when he spotted a tour bus belonging to The Who. Still in his chef whites, Williams approached the road crew and boldly asked for an introduction to Roger Daltrey. “I knew Roger loved songwriters,” Jack says,“ and Pete Townsend knew songs.” Williams was ushered backstage that night and spent the next few months on tour with the band, eventually signing a deal – his first – with the publishing company owned by Daltrey, Townsend and Who manager Bill Curbishley. For two years and dozens of unmentionable road stories, Jack was mentored by one of the greatest acts in rock history.
Towards the end of his Who deal, Williams got a phone call from Ken Hensley, Keyboardist and primary songwriter of UK proto-metal rockers Uriah Heep, who invited Jack to move to London as the band’s first outside in-house songwriter. Jack jumped at the invite, and amid opening UK shows for Havens and demo sessions with neighbors like Alvin Lee and George Harrison, Uriah Heep would record four of Jack’s songs for the Gold albums Innocent Victim and Firefly. But it was a group of fellow small-town Florida boys that triggered the next chapter of Jack’s career. “Lynyrd Skynyrd came to London for their Knebworth concert”, Jack explains. “I got to know the band, played Ronnie Van Zant some of my songs, and he suggested I come to Florida and be part of the Southern Rock scene.”
Williams moved back to the states, founding the Jacksonville-based band Streets Of Ice, landing cuts with acts like Blackfoot and Molly Hatchet, and writing with Gregg Allman. Dickey Betts became a good friend and began producing the Streets Of Ice project. But when the band imploded just before signing their major label deal, Betts suggested that Jack’s songwriting skills could find a full-time home in Nashville. With a $50 loan and a one-way bus ticket, Williams landed in Nashville and signed a publishing deal with The Oak Ridge Boys, who soon recorded Jack’s songs ‘Seasons’ and ‘Everybody Wins’. Jack then had his first major hit, co-writing with Allman Brothers Band member Warren Haynes – Gregg Allman’s ‘Just Before The Bullets Fly’. But when the mid-‘90s Country Boom began to fade, Williams returned to his culinary background, opening restaurants in North Carolina, Memphis and Olympia, and running kitchen teams on research vessels in the Aleutian Islands and Azores, and on supply ships during the Gulf War, for which he earned a Medal of Bravery from President Bush. “I’d also played blues clubs in Seattle,” Jack adds, “which is how Leonard Chess signed me to a writing deal with Chess Records. So I guess we can add ‘Blues Artist’ to the list, too.”
Williams returned to Nashville in 2005, owning a catering business while landing cuts with artists that included Montgomery Gentry, Black Stone Cherry, and on the MIRACLES FROM HEAVEN Soundtrack. He signed a new publishing deal with Lynn Gann Music Enterprises in 2015, scoring even more cuts that included Canadian artist Aaron Pritchett’s Top 10 hit ‘Dirt Road In ‘Em.’ “When it comes to commercial radio stuff, I write like a gunfighter,” Jack says. “But at a certain point, I couldn’t write another line about drinking beer in the back of a truck with a girl. I needed to find the soul of my music again.”
Jack began writing songs reflective of his lifetime of not only struggles, but his continued sense of hope. He would soon – in more ways than one – find his own voice. “Pete Townsend once told me, ‘Always hire a great singer’,” Jack explains. “I never believed my vocals were that strong, which is why I always used other singers for my demos. But I began participating in singer/songwriter nights here in Nashville and got the kind of reaction I’d never received before. When I started to sing what’s in my heart, everything began to change.”
Williams soon connected with Academy Award winner Kevin Costner, whose band Kevin Costner & Modern West had recorded two of Jack’s songs (including the Top 20 hit ‘Love Shine’), leading Costner to cut an additional five Jack tracks for his hit TV series’ TALES FROM YELLOWSTONE soundtrack. Jack signed with Anthem Entertainment for additional film & television work, and has since collaborated with award-winning Welsh composer John Hardy. And his 2020 EP (Already Dead) produced by Brothers Osborne’s Adam Box, became – after nearly five decades of music and adventure fit for a dozen lives – H. Jack Williams’ first solo release. “I feel like a 20-year-old singer/songwriter again,” Jack says, with the characteristic combination of fortitude and poignancy that still defines his life, his career, and his very best work to come. “I’m a survivor, and I keep pushing forward. I believe that my A-game has just begun.”
Stay current with H. Jack Williams at http://hjackwilliamsmusic.com/.
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