This week’s Swag Spotlight shines on two musicians, Gordon Brown and Reagan Richards, who call themselves Williams Honor, a name they told us honors their late fathers, William and Benard. We talked with them about everything from their influences, their journey as a duo, and how they view the ever-changing genre of country music.
Hailing from the Jersey Shore’s Asbury Park, Williams Honor has a unique rise in the industry. Richards made the big move from New Jersey to Nashville to further her career, where she worked with an impressive list of collaborators and sang back-up for rock artists, while Brown, spent decades writing, producing, and directing all in the realm of the music world.
Although the two have known of each other for years, the two met in 2012 after Hurricane Sandy ripped through New Jersey and New York. Both Richards and Brown performed on the same benefit show, bonding over their roots and Nashville, and the rest was history.
“Being that we had two separate careers, all of sudden we say ‘hey’ why don’t we look into doing something together and we started writing and that’ sorta how Williams Honor started. It was very organic. It just really happened with us realizing that we had the same interests, the same goals, and the same things that we really loved,” Richards tells us.
Their mutual love for country music both brought Williams Honor together and have kept them dedicated to the genre over the last few years too. “With country music, you listen to that song. And from the first word sang until the last word sang, you know what they’re talking about,” adding, “And 9 times out of 10 you can relate to it or your best friend can relate to it. So when we sit down to write, that’s what we write, we write country music. Because of just being able to resonate with it. It’s authentic, it’s truly authentic. We love it, we write it.”
The duo hopes to continue to be ambassadors for country music, as they show their loyal fans across many genres that at the heart of country music is a story and a message. This understanding truly resonates across their original music. Mixing old school country-rock influences of everyone from Pasty Cline, Frank Sinatra, and Johnny Cash to Keith Urban, Bon Jovi, and Little Big Town, Williams Honor runs the gamut of the country music spectrum and have truly found a fresh, yet vulnerable sound.
With a new song, “Step!” just released, the duo also have a new full-length album on the horizon. The record will focus on themes of loss and grief while hoping to empower fans at the same time. The duo wrote every single song off the record together, with one exception, where they partnered with a talented songwriter to create the tune. According to Brown, “This second album that we are just finishing up right now is, of course, another bunch of building blocks on what Williams Honor is, what country music from the east coast is, what country music from Asbury Park is,” adding, “It’s got all the great ingredients that Reagan and I decided we wanted to infuse our music with from day one. This record is about grief and loss. It’s an empowering record for those who need it.”
In their time as a duo, Williams Honor has garnered quite the army of loyal and diehard fans to support them. As we anticipate the new record, we also looked back on the success they have already had as artists, recounting a magical time in their career, where the duo got to open for Bon Jovi at the prestigious Madison Square Garden in New York City. “I did grow up in the shadows of Madison Square Garden,” Brown tells us, “[It’s] where Springsteen would play multiple night sin a row or where Bon Jovi exploded through the years. […]. How great for us, playing country music out of Asbury Park, one of the few artists to ever give that a real whirl, to get a tap on the shoulder by one of the areas’ biggest bands.” They later added, “To play The Garden and to have the support from our music community, there are no words to describe that.”
“Step!” is now available everywhere you buy or stream music. Take a listen below and check out more new recently released music here on our ‘New Country Music’ playlist. Be sure to give the playlist a follow for your weekly new country music fix.
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