Photos By Arnie Goodman
Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Chelsea Williams released her debut album for the Blue Élan music label. Boomerang spotlights Williams’ tantalizing vocal skills, with musical accents reminiscent of “Alice in Wonderland” and twangs that typically accompany a Western film. The album is undoubtedly more robust than her previous acoustic music; empty spaces are filled with instrumental sounds from an actual misician, as opposed to samples or synthesizers.
Boomerang is also Williams’ first time working with a new producer, Ross Garren, who poses a triple threat as a composer and arranger as well. According to the singer-songwriter, Garren is “the real deal.”
“He gets me,” Williams said. “If you want to count the demo process, making the album was about a five-month process. The time we spent actually in the studio recording was more like two weeks.” Williams also described the process of making Boomerang as extremely cathartic. “I’ve gone through a lot since my last album release,” she said.
Overall, there is a diverse range of songs on the album, but each is unique and quirky (much like Williams herself). “I don’t write many happy songs, but this is one,” she said before performing the album’s seventh track, “Little Halo,” on stage at City Winery, alongside her friend Helen Hummel. Williams, who opened for Poco, later joined Rusty Young and the band to perform a song.
In her opening number, Williams surprised the audience with a hot pink kazoo to accompany herself on acoustic guitar for a few bars before she comedically spit it on the ground and continued her set with grace and power. According to Williams, the kazoo bit is her “security blanket” and calms performance nerves.
For the last song of her opening set, Williams performed “Lonely Girl,” which is undoubtedly the catchiest track on Boomerang. The singer brings much emotion to her music through soulful vocals and vulnerable lyrics, but in this tune especially. “Fools Gold” is also an honorable mention, as well as aching country ballad “Dreamcatcher.”
Williams’ favorite lyric on Boomerang? “’How’d you get to the place where you get one voice in your head?’ That one just means a lot to me, especially in our political times,” she said. “I think it’s important to accept other cultures and ideas.”