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Robert Williams | State Secrets

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Country: Country Rock Folk: Modern Folk Moods: Type: Acoustic
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State Secrets

by Robert Williams

Robert's rootsy music comes from an otherworldly crossroad - half West Texas Honkey Tonk and half backstreet Berlin Cabaret - where Hank Williams meets Kurt Weil for a drink.
Genre: Country: Country Rock
Release Date: 

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  Song Share Time Download
1. Basic Italian
3:51 $0.99
2. The Quiet American
5:40 $0.99
3. Buffalo Billy
3:57 $0.99
4. If
3:42 $0.99
5. Remembering You
3:55 $0.99
6. State Secrets
3:44 $0.99
7. Don't Leave Me Tonight
3:27 $0.99
8. How Long (Till The End Of The World)
3:16 $0.99
9. Living Outside the Law
3:54 $0.99
10. You Never Letting It Go
3:12 $0.99
Downloads are available as MP3-320 files.


Album Notes
State Secrets (Ordnung & Hartmann) is the new 10-song disc from singer-songwriter Robert Williams. Produced by George Marinelli (guitarist for Bonnie Raitt and Bruce Hornsby), the disc showcases Williams' uniquely-informed world view and lyrical, roots-driven songcraft that highlights a passionate view of life in a complicated and changing world.

While his foundation as an American singer-songwriter with a solid roots spin is dominant, Robert's singular sound comes from many years spent as part of the now-infamous Hagelberger Collective, a multi-national group of like-minded musicians living and playing in Berlin in the seventies. "It was kind of a musical commune," says Williams, and it has infused his work with a broad musical range including a fondness for the occasional cabaret-influenced waltz or jazz-inflected romp, and lyrics inhabited by an often bizarre cast of characters. Born and raised in Oklahoma, the undeniable roots flavor of his work comes from time spent living and playing in Kansas City, Houston, Austin, and Burlington, Vermont. (He currently lives in Cairo, Egypt nine months of the year.)

Highlights of the new disc include the title cut, "State Secrets." The mandolin and guitar-propelled waltz weaves its way through a champagne haze of half-remembered images of last night's rendezvous. The ghost of Marlena, a broken-nosed bouncer, and Wig Lady all whirl by in an ex-patriate's seeming nightmare of too much Ouzo ("it's bad for the gig") and secrets better kept safe. Underneath it all, runs a vein of Texas twang and country harmonies on the refrain.

"Buffalo Billy" blends the gloriously melodic, lilting guitar lines of Williams and George Marinelli with a bit of ethereal dobro in a poignant glimpse of an aging hippy looking for the life that has passed him by. In keeping with the album's international flavor, Robert traveled to Toronto to record the dobro and soaring harmonies on the refrain with Hagelbergers Stephen Miller and Shelley Beal.

"How Long ('Til the End of the World)" marries an all-out Texas roadhouse romp to a killer hook in a song of outrage, mocking the righteousness of those seeking "eternal salvation at a bargain price" from the midnite hucksters on cable television. Williams' agile lyrics highlight this riff-driven bit of rootsy pop sensibility.



to write a review

James C

State Secrets was released earlier this month in London
State Secrets, Bob William’s first solo album, was released earlier this month in London, England. Bob, best known for his work with the Hagelbergers, has created a masterpiece of American rock, fusing the country and western that seems to be his roots with a variety of other influences. Most of the songs are new material and many were contributed by other Hagelbergers, notably "Basic Italian" and "Buffalo Billy", with lyrics co-written by John Vaughan of "Somewhere in Europe" fame, and the sensational "Living outside the Law" from Jesse Ballard off the "Americans in Berlin" album. There is also a song from the Hagelbergers' spiritual soul-mate and former band member T.M Fabian, the witty and melodic "If”.

Ever since we have been following the Hagelbergers here in England we have asked the same question - IF the dice had just rolled a slightly different way surely we would not be talking of CSN&Y but the Hagelbergers too as the champions of an old and almost forgotten America. The musical legacy is just as strong, and continues to shine strongly in this new album. As Bob Williams sings in the title track, "We all came from Kreuzberg and we're glad that we did". We're glad too Bob, for that spiritual and musical home is still resulting in new and great music to inspire us all 30 years on.

Folker Magazine

His roots in Berlin (1969) go almost as deep as those in Oklahoma (his childhood), with direct artistic results: In Robert Williams’ songs, his powerful American blues/country/folk heritage is expertly fused with European delicacies. We would like to see artists from “God’s own country” do this more often.