Anne Williams on WNRN


Ease into your day with the best music around, every weekday from 6am until 10am. Hosted by Anne Williams. Anne has been with the station for over 16 years. The Acoustic CD of the Month Club has become a staple of WNRN’s fund drives and grows in members each year.

Anne Williams News & Updates

New Morning Picks, February 14, 2017

Rodney Crowell will be putting out a new solo album, Close Ties, March 31 on New West Records. This teaser track, “It Ain’t Over Yet”delivers what we have come to love about his singing, songwriting and playing plus John Paul White and Rosanne Cash chime in too! If you are a Rodney Crowell fan, you should check him performing live at The Hamilton in DC April 1st.

Caroline Spence grew up here in central Virginia, was in a band with Carl Anderson before she left for Nashville, and now is releasing her second album since calling Tennessee home, Spades and Roses, on March 3rd. Quoting “Big Old James” Wilson of Sons of Bill, “While Caroline Spence may not look like one of the road-hardened troubadours of America’s past, … Caroline has delivered a record to meet the expectation: Quite simply, 11 songs of gorgeous Americana that remind us of why we fell in love with the genre in the first place.” WNRN is loving on the track, “Wishing Well.”

For fans of the Gourds, Austin’s Shinyribs is the place where the singer Kevin Russell is offering his talents these days. Lots of horns in these songs found on the new release, I Got Your Medicine. Although Russell’s songwriting is stellar, WNRN could not resist another verson of Ted Hawkin’s “I Gave Up All I Had.” The CD will be out February 24th.

Montreal singer-songwriter Leif Vollebekk released North Americana, two years ago. Now it’s time for Vollebekk’s forthcoming album, Twin Solitude and the song, “Elegy.” It is a quiet album that is front loaded with piano-based tunes then more Nick Drake sounding guitar-based tunes on the second half. This will be released February 24th, too.

By |February 16th, 2017|Categories: Anne Williams, Featured, Miscellaneous|0 Comments

Acoustic CD of the Month, February 2017

Tift Merritt‘s newest, Stitch of the World, is the February 2017 Acoustic CD of the Month.

Written between a divorce and the birth of her daughter, Tift Merritt, recorded this new CD with Sam Beam of Iron and Wine. Before releasing it, she took the time to move back to Raleigh, NC, settle into a new life as a mom near her parents and long-time friends, then Merritt planned the released Stitch of the World for the end of January 2017. It was worth the wait.

“What strikes me most when I am writing these days is the changing nature of things,” Merritt states in her bio for the new album. She sees the doubled nature of being alone as refuge and lonely, hometowns as constricting and balm for the soul, and intimacy with lovers as well as what comes with family. These feelings and images are wrapped into the narratives of the songs. The sounds range on the new effort from the jangly “Dusty Old Man”  to the more contemplative, “Icarus.” She was inspired to set parts of Raymond Carver’s poem, “My Boat”, to music after hearing news reports about Syrian refugees making sea crossings to Europe.

Throughout Stitch of the World, you can hear the influence of producer, Sam Beam. He is heard directly on some background vocals as well as in the general sweetness and openness of the project. This all lends itself to Tift Merritt’s fine songwriting. There are some great players including Marc Ribot on guitar as well as Eric Heywood on pedal-steel.


By |February 6th, 2017|Categories: Anne Williams, CD of the Month, Featured, Miscellaneous|0 Comments

New Morning Picks, December 13, 2016

‘Twas right before the holidays, when all through the station
Not a promoter was calling, not even a tour manager;
The top ten lists were hung by the mixing board with care,
In hopes that new year’s music soon would be there;

Apologies for the parody of the old Christmas rhyme, but this is the last installment of the new morning picks until the new year. Blessed holidays to all!

A favorite Austin band, Band of Heathens, will release Duende on January 13! If this new one is anything like their catalog, high energy, excellent harmonies and great songs are on the way with the new release, but we will have to wait and listen to just this one new song from them, “All I’m Asking” in the meantime. They will be at Gypsy Sally’s in DC on January 21.

Girls, Guns, & Glory released Love and Protest in November. No Depression states this is their best effort to date. Ward Hayden, lead singer and songwriter, says each song on the album is journey that explores love and what comes next, including the Graham Parsons cover, “Hot Burrito #1.” The band asked Duke Levine to sit in on live sessions that created this album. 🙂 We are playing one of Hayden’s songs, “Memories Don’t Die.”


By |December 13th, 2016|Categories: Anne Williams, Miscellaneous|0 Comments

Acoustic CD of the Month for November 2016

John Prine‘s For Better For Worse is the November 2016 Acoustic CD of the Month.

John Prine has released another album of country duets called For Better, Or Worse. Prine teams up with an all-star array of female singers to cover vintage country tunes. In a sense, it is a follow up to 1999’s In Spite Of Ourselves. This album is Prine’s first album since emerging victorious from his second struggle with the cancer. His voice is rougher with time and treatment for the illness, but in this context it serves to make him more like the guy next door.

While other artists use duets or cover albums to a strategically attempt to make themselves commercially relevant again, Prine has been recording for his own label since the 1980s and answers to no one. The cast on this new CD includes a ‘re’-pairing of Prine along with Iris DeMent and Fiona Prine. The talent also includes Alison Krauss, Kacey Musgraves, Susan Tedeschi, Amanda Shires, as well as Miranda Lambert, Lee Ann Womack and Kathy Mattea.

Prine sings one of the three Hank Williams songs with Hank’s granddaughter Holly Williams in “I’m Telling You.” He also takes on the Ernest Tubb/Loretta honky-tonk classic “Who’s Gonna Take Your Garbage Out.” On a happier note, the pairing of Morgane Stapleton and Prine on “Look At Us” reassures us that there can be songs about domestic bliss that fit into this profile of partnership.

Although some fans may miss hearing new songs from Prine, he does use his voice and delivery to bring these songs to life as if they were his own. This fan is grateful for the new role John Prine is playing: curator of classic country music at its best. (Photo: Josh Britt)

By |November 1st, 2016|Categories: Anne Williams, CD of the Month, Miscellaneous|0 Comments

Acoustic CD of the Month October 2016

Hiss Golden Messenger’s Heart Like a Levee is the Acoustic CD of the Month for October 2016.

Hiss Golden Messenger return on October 7 with Heart Like a Levee, their 7th studio album, the first in two years. WNRN added “Biloxi” this summer and has been anxiously awaiting the whole album.

M.C. Taylor says about Heart Like a Levee, “I wrote these songs during a time of transition and doubt. The process was raw, but also joyous. I spent a lot of time with these words and chords in all types of weather. In the end I learned more about myself making this record than any in the past, and that’s one important way for me to gauge whether an album was worth making.”

The new release was self-produced by Taylor and Bradley Cook and recorded in Durham, NC, with Taylor’s close-knit North Carolina collaborators: brothers Phil and Bradley Cook on piano and bass, respectively; Matt McCaughan on drums; Tift Merritt and Alexandra Sauser-Monnig on backing vocals; and Matt Douglas and Michael Lewis on horns.

There is so much to dig into on Heart Like a Levee. The songs deal with leaving and returning, belief and trust, guilt, honesty, and life on the road. “Say It Like You Mean It” sounds like the next radio single.

By |October 1st, 2016|Categories: Anne Williams, CD of the Month|0 Comments

New Morning Picks, September 20, 2016

No matter if you call him Modern Bakersfield Country or New Traditionalist, Dwight Yoakam has been releasing good music from LA since 1986. (He has also been on the big screen in Sling Blade and Panic Room.) The newest is a new bluegrass record, Swimmin’ Pools, Movie Stars…. There is a country ballad version of “Purple Rain.” Who knew Prince could write a country song? Dwight turns it into one. We play his bluegrass version of the classic “These Arms” that was originally released on A Long Way Home in 1989.

A year after the birth of her first child, Amanda Shires is out with a new release, My Piece of Land. Known as a fiddler and singer, she does a majority of the songwriting on this new release. Some on her own as well as with her husband, Jason Isbell. She gets help from Isbell’s producer, Dave Cobb, who seems to bring out the best in her voice and songs. Mornings will features “The Way It Dimmed.”

Los Lobos’ Steve Berlin is the producer of the new (pronounced green sky) Greensky  Bluegrass CD, Shouted, Written Down & Quoted. Trying to straddle the line between the highly disciplined bluegrass genre and the long form jam world has been hard to translate onto a record. Steve Berlin made that happen. WNRN plays “Merely Avoiding.” You can catch them at the National in Richmond on September 28.

Stand out live folk band of the 1960s, the Jim Kweskin Jug Band blended country, ragtime, jazz, and rock ‘n’ roll. Geoff Muldaur got his start there as a singer and guitarist. Kweskin and Muldaur reunited the jug band for a tour in 2015. They follow up with their own CD and tour this year. Listening to the new CD, Penny’s Farm, is trip through folk classics with their signature playing style. I hope you dig into this one and hear their version of traditional ‘Down On Penny’s Farm’ and Vera Hall’s ‘The Boll Weevil.’ (Vera Hall is the voice that is sampled on Moby’s Play CD singing ‘Natural Blues.’) “Sweet to Mama” is a bluesy number that captures the exquisite playing and singing of Muldaur.



By |September 20th, 2016|Categories: Anne Williams, Miscellaneous|0 Comments