While the name Van William may be new to many of you his first band more than likely won’t be – well at least not if you were a regular listener to Folk Radio UK back in 2008 when Port O’Brien, his first band, was receiving plenty of airplay from us. He then went on to form a second band called WATERS.
Whatever musical shifts these two bands explored there was, and still is, no mistaking Van’s vocals which first drew me to the Indie-folk sound of Port O’Brien. It turns out that during this time he managed to cultivate a tight-knit community of fellow musicians, embarked on a serious, years-long romantic relationship, even found time to spend summers in the Kodiak Islands of Alaska working on his father’s commercial fishing boat, as he’d done all his life. The draw of that lifestyle was strongly imprinted on Port O’Brien’s Fisherman’s Son – “And you are a fisherman’s son, And that is what you’ll become.”
Whilst he did become a fisherman, the permanence and sense of security he had in life at this point began to dissolve around him – his musical projects, romantic relationship and his father announced his retirement after 49 summers at sea. Talking about these tumultuous years he declares he “was freaked out” but with it came a “renewed sense of purpose” and a new musical direction, heralded by the arrival of ‘Countries’, Van’s vivid and open-hearted solo debut full length album, set for release on 19th January 2018 via Fantasy Records / Concord Music.
The album includes Van’s recent single ‘Revolution’ (featuring guest vocals from First Aid Kit) and marking the album’s announcement a fresh new single: The Country. Watch both below:
The songs on his new album are very much tied to his experiences on Kodiak Island, Alaska, something he clearly wanted those listening to his music to be aware of. This recent introductory video is very revealing about “how life feels up there and how heartbreaking it is to say goodbye to my years as a commercial fisherman. The songs on my EP and forthcoming album are deeply tied to my experiences on Kodiak. The fact that my life up there is ending while this project is starting feels right in every sense.”
Pre-Order Countries: http://smarturl.it/VWcountries