Benjamin Williams

Beneath the Willow Tree (2015)

The only plan that came out of the first meeting I had with cellist Jesse Christeson and pianist Tyler Kemp was the idea to create a piece in something like the form of an album, that is, an LP. In the words of Rob, a fictional thirty-something record-store owner in the movie High Fidelity: ‘You gotta kick off with a killer, to grab attention. Then you gotta take it up a notch, but you don’t wanna blow it all at once, so then you got to cool it off a notch. There are a lot of rules.” Williams carefully studied some of the most beloved albums of all times from ensembles like the Beatles and the Beach Boys in order to find out just what all those ‘rules’ might be. The result, Beneath the Willow Tree, is a ‘13-track album’ of music that is unmistakably contemporary, but maybe not all that different from a dance suite from the 1700s: several short, catchy tunes with a danceable beat and a singable melody.

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