The music of Karl S. Williams is born of a desire to connect with the universal soul. This connection is clearly evident to those who see Karl perform live; an experience so emotionally charged that all are unavoidably drawn to it and uplifted. Drawing comparisons ranging from Son House to Antony Hegarty and Nina Simone, of his music Karl can only say that it attempts to appeal to our fundamental humanity, that which unites us all and transcends superficial boundaries.
He came to music late, picking up the guitar in the evenings while working on a coffee plantation in Northern New South Wales. At this time he began to explore the blues, spirituals and work songs of the American south as a way to occupy his mind during the day’s labour. He later traded farm work for a job in the city, which though easier on the body, paid no heed to the soul leaving him drained and despairing. The situation, along with a fractious relationship that eventually left him homeless proved fertile ground for songwriting and emotionally raw performance.
Ten years, as he says, ‘on the grinding wheel’ resulted in a wealth of material but life’s tribulations hampered efforts to record the album his growing fanbase were clamouring for. Nevertheless Karl continued to make a name for himself around Brisbane and the Gold Coast as a performer willing to expose the innards of his heart. At the urging of friends and fans, Karl redoubled his efforts in 2013, finally producing the debut album Heartwood which Noel Mengel of The Courier Mail suggested “is so good it might even save your life.”
August 2013 saw the independent release Heartwood and the very kind reception for this work led to many opportunities including a packed BIGSOUND showcase, rapturous appearances at Woodford Folk Festival and national touring opportunities with Busby Marou and Darren Middleton. This gained the attention of Footstomp Music who released a deluxe version of Heartwood in August 2014 containing several new recordings, allowing this humble work a chance to enter the hearts of Australia and the world.