Sam Williams and Carter Faith’s cover of Tammy Wynette’s classic “‘Til I Can Make It On My Own” debuted at the Grand Ole Opry and Nashville Palace.
Five years into a joint effort in Nashville star, third-generation country music legacy performer Sam Williams (son of Hank Williams Jr. and grandson of the iconic “Jambalaya” vocalist, who died on December 31, 1952) on bottom has figured out how to distinguish itself, in a unique way, from its basic predecessors.
His latest single is a pairing with 2023 CMT Next Women of Country class member and north suburban Charlotte native Carter Faith.
The work is more inspired by his originality and is embedded in his unique vision of how Music City’s past inspires the world’s future.
The duo for a cover of Tammy Wynette’s 48-year-old ballad “Til I Can Make It On My Own.”
In the new group’s hands, the song expands beyond being the 15th No. 1 of the Country Music Hall of Famer at country radio and a song in which she highlights the recent demise of a relationship.
Classical art and country atmospheres were modernized
The release of his 2019 album Glasshouse Children with a duet assist from Dolly Parton was highly visible. Williams is, yes, like Parton, not so much a pure singer as a song designer.
However, he is also an esthete with a highly developed appreciation for beauty, a shrewd and self-taught mind for music marketing, plus a father to a seven-year-old son, Tennyson.
All of these are critical influences on his work.
Instead, in the hands of Williams and Faith — plus the work of audio engineers and producers, directors, fashion designers, photographers, venues and visual artists specially selected to execute the song itself, its music video and its debut live, Saturday night on both the Grand Ole Opry stage and the honky-tonk stage at the Nashville Palace — “Til I Can Make It On My Own” does its best by telling the most unified story yet of how classical art and country atmospheres have been actualized in the modern era.
Billboard’s year-end 2023 charts note that nearly half of the time, domestic listeners prefer country music’s mainstream offerings. As an age-old genre, country music can offer Morgan Wallen and Bailey Zimmerman or Megan Moroney and Lainey Wilson.
For America’s other half-years who haven’t tuned in yet, maybe the answer is to listen and see what they know country music to be; however, it is rendered very similar but lovingly advanced from what they remembered.
Williams is part of Universal Music Group’s ‘Revival’ movement
Also of note is that Williams was recently announced as signed to Universal Music Nashville alongside Belle Frantz, Danae Hays, HUESTON, Dillon James, Louie TheSinger and Anne Wilson.
“We love country music, but we’re going to expand our spectrum to include all kinds of voices. That’s what country is,” UMG Nashville boss Cindy Mabe said at the launch of the new Revival label in January 2024 , developing and diverse. roster of newly signed talent at North Nashville’s Clementine Hall.
Regular tenants of Clementine Hall have included the inclusive and “progressively Christian” Gracepointe Church.
Gracepointe’s mission is rooted in its commitment to be a “community that welcomes the entire human family, regardless of race, age, creed, physical ability, marital or economic status, gender identity, or sexual orientation.”
Nine months ago, Mabe officially replaced longtime Universal Nashville head Mike Dungan.
In her first message, she made the following statement:
“Country is — and will remain — a deep-rooted genre based on great, true storytelling that includes creative influences across musical styles and genres, and fans everywhere have shown us that they’re open to what our emerging genre has to offer. From Nashville to the world.”
Why is the look and feel of future country hits so important?
The modern music market now includes over 30 million songs uploaded to streaming DSPs each year and around 200 million songs credited and streamed worldwide.
So it’s time to think that in order for country songs to come out alongside the current mega-successful crop of hits, they have to achieve the esoteric goal of feeling and sounding exactly like they sound.
Speaking with The Tennessean backstage at the Grand Ole Opry, Faith, a “massive Tammy Wynette fan,” notes that she believes songs that include but expand beyond a mathematical and scientific understanding of hooks, rhyme schemes, and rhythm, will expand country music. the main success.
Williams, a passionate advocate for the “unspoken” notions in mainstream country, adds that he’s keen to advance and accurately embody the historical legacy” of artists like Kenny Rogers and Dottie West (who also covered ‘Til I Can Make It On My Own” in 1978) but also staying true to the ruling pop sensibility of the time.
He adds that a market that values digital-first music and social media-driven marketing misses the value of feeling, hearing and seeing artists live their art in real time in an honest — but also engaging and engaging way. stylized — .
Dropping the fourth wall, but also being self-aware of presenting the most attractive image possible is perhaps an incredibly magical step for artists who have already achieved Billboard success.
“There is a way to give emotions that are not potentially false and [embodying] something that is not realistic,” says Williams.
‘God Winks’ provides inspiration in the recording process
The choice of “Til I Can Make It On My Own” is one of many “eye choices” involved in the recording process of the highly inspired song.
In 1975, Williams’ grandmother, Audrey Williams, died in the same 9,000-square-foot home at 4916 Franklin Pike in which Tammy Wynette died 23 years later.
The house is on the same site where Hank Williams, Jr. grew up and was taught how to play music by Fats Domino and Jerry Lee Lewis, who would stop by the house to honor Audrey’s late husband and Sam’s grandfather.
Faith, like Williams, believes Wynette is a “groundbreaking innovator,” like Hank and Audrey Williams. For her, the record came, like many people, after she consciously traveled the same roads that Wynette did half a century ago, after experiencing life-changing events like the end of a relationship.
“I played once [Tammy Wynette’s 1972 hit] “Til I Get It Right” is on repeat for 30 minutes and I teared up when I passed the Music Row intersection where she is said to have written the song. Nashville — whether it’s RCA Records’ Studio A and B, Columbia’s Quonset Hut, or even the Grand Ole Opry — can profoundly change the way a song is imagined today, and definitely [the historical template] how and why it was recorded.”
Faith believes Wynette’s legacy has inspired her creative “heart and soul” since her grandfather first played her music in his car as a child.
Now, as a Nashville-based recording artist, the way she more directly and empathetically experiences many of the similar root causes of Wynette’s lived emotions has “a million percent influenced” her songwriting craft.
It now works best creatively as a conduit between classic thrills, real-time existence, and the genre’s most lucrative future.
Williams gleefully interrupts Faith’s stream of consciousness with a deep interjection.
“Carter, remember when we recorded the song, that day wasn’t right. In that house with the producers who made my album, when you started singing up, the lights in the house started flickering. It was one of those soulful ones. Woo-woo’ moments that were out of our control.”
The country’s mainstream and its ‘wildness’ [reimagined] context’
Covering songs by “paying homage to the lyrics while wildly reimagining their emotional context” inspires Faith and Williams’ original work to come.
The work on ‘Til I Can Make It On My Own’ reaches a deeper understanding of their lives not only as their authentic selves, but deeper, into their best selves as artists carrying on the centuries-old tradition of country music .
“Anyone can write a song. But when a song you record and the world hears that accurately describes surviving a difficult time in your life, it heals your heart,” says Williams.
Notably, the performer is survived by the death of his sister, Katherine Williams-Dunning, in a car accident in June 2020 and his mother, Mary Jane Thomas, on March 22, 2022.
So, like every day he’s lived for the past half decade, the song arrives like a sonic tourniquet.
He talks about passing a hat and telling about the future of country music.
Songs recorded with such deliberate depth and scope are never so simply described.
“I just hope we made Tammy proud”
“[Carter and I are from small towns and had big dreams that led us to a city that’s hard to cut through. Re-recording “‘Til I Make It On My Own” is me embracing history [tipping a] hat’s off to me,” Williams adds via a press statement, summing up the power of the song’s creative process.
Faith adds a sincere note.
“[Tammy, like I also try to be] was an honest writer of beautiful, heartbreaking and hopeful words… i just hope [Sam and I’s performance] made [her] proud.”