On February 26, 2021, the much celebrated TOTO singer and film & television composer JOSEPH WILLIAMS will release his first solo album in thirteen years, titled “Denizen Tenant” and out via The Players Club/Mascot Label Group.
It will be released on the exact same day that old pal Steve Lukather releases his new solo album: “I Found The Sun Again” which we reviewed here >> LUKATHER Re-Finds The Sun
At fifteen (Joseph is now sixty), the famous son of film composer John Williams and actress Barbara Ruick and the grandson of jazz drummer Johnny Williams and actors Melville Ruick and Lurene Tuttle, began his career as a commercial singer in radio and television.
Williams was lead vocalist with Toto during the mid-to-late 1980s and then on the band’s reformation in 2010. When the group disbanded in 2019 (subsequently to reform in 2020) Williams was the only member from the previous lineup, besides guitarist Lukather, to return.
Williams released his first self-titled solo album in 1982 and has also had a very successful career as a composer of film and drama soundtracks and has been in high demand as a session vocalist, to be heard on numerous other artist projects.
this one tells you what you need to know…— JOSEPH WILLIAMS
Speaking of his new album, Williams said: “Although my album is an eclectic collection of songs, this one tells you what you need to know to get a real sense of the whole. You can see where I’m going vocally for sure.”
For the recording, Williams asked a variety of incredibly talented artists to contribute parts. Among the many collaborators are Toto bandmates are David Paich and Steve Lukather. Simon Phillips, Leland Sklar, Lenny Castro, Nathan East, all of whom enjoyed tenures in Toto are also featured players on the album.
Additional contributions include performances by Oscar Bugarin, Jay Gruska, Mike Landau, Barbara Gruska, Steve Overton, Dylan Ronan, Hannah Ruick, Steve Tavaloni, Weston Wilson, Ray Williams, and Mark T. Williams.
The track : “Never Saw You Coming” is a docile, politely syncopated tumble with greatly pleasing harmonies, provocative guitar rhythms and a lively (if circumspect) sense of connection and positivity.
“Liberty Man” (video shared below) is a pleasant and refined ascent. The voice of caramel & maraschino cream (Joe has kept his voice intact and smooth all these years, it is clear that it still retains its sparkle and smokiness) — skims the edges of some monumental chords, as it trudges towards a colonnade of splendid sounds.
Title track “Denizen Tenant” is a fluid, propulsively percussive number with magnificent instrumentalism that is multi-faceted and never straightforward (but rewarding and entertaining nonetheless.) Reminiscent of Tormato-era Yes (yes) with that same kind of complexity, poignant melody, and undeniable silkiness. (He provided supporting vocals on Anderson’s “In the City of Angels” in 1988, so it doesn’t require a a huge stretch of imagination to believe he’s influenced by English prog.)
“Wilma Fingadoux” is brooding, atmospheric, and becomes (perhaps unusually for Joe) semi-rigid in rhythm and projection: delivering massive decays, snappy drum-machined bullets, and dronish textures. Could this be a transmutation into trap? Could Joseph be the next Childish Gambino? Hopefully, the cadences and the layered “Drunk in Love” vibes won’t put his faithful congregation off, because this is a great song: soulful, uncompromising, and genuinely elegant.
What an album! What a composer! What an artist! So beautiful. So evocative.
And it must be said… so totally Toto!
Words: @neilmach 2021 ©
Denizen Tenant which will be released on Feb 26, 2021, the same day as Steve Lukather’s new solo album I Found The Sun Again