New Zealand’s Marlon Williams makes great American country music. His first full release, the self-titled Marlon Williams, channels the haunting blues of Lead Belly, the frolics of Gram Parsons, and songwriting of Father John Misty. His breakout, a cover of the traditional ballad, “When I Was a Young Girl,” is so forlornly beautiful that he makes an extremely strong case as the best Jeff Buckley acolyte in a generation. A multiple New Zealand Music award winner, Williams, 26, has just released an evocative single “Vampire Again,” a soulful, shifty commentary on identity, with hints of acapella. Raised in Christchurch, and a member of a choir there, Williams branched out to rock ‘n’ roll, Americana, and modern folk while growing up. His gospel roots are always right there with him. His best song, “Everyone’s Got Something To Say,” starts off as a simple strummer, then lifts up into the ether, like a spirit sent away, and just close enough to believe in. Catch him at the Mishawaka, on Saturday, August 19, with City and Colour.
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