Under These Lights, the new album from Denver’s Kaitlyn Williams, walks the line between neo soul and music for the masses, departing from the bedroom pop she showcased in her 2019 album and subsequent singles. This album was produced in collaboration with Downbeat Denver and was recorded live at The Lodge at Woods Boss Brewing in Denver.
A contributing factor to this shift in style is the live recording, which leaves less room for glittery production and more room for natural musicianship. We still get glimpses of that older, more commercial style, particularly through her long-time collaborator Connor Terrone’s excellent guitar playing, which still reflects an indie pop sound as heard in “Pantomime.”
William’s clean vocals rival R&B deliveries the likes of Ariana Grande, especially when she exploits her soprano range, incorporating melismatic riffs.
It’s clear she is a fantastic vocalist worthy of comparison to Top 40 queens, but the most interesting part of her singing appears in “Places.” Here, she describes someone running out of breath, mimicking that cadence rhythmically as if she was gasping for air herself. This moment is not the performance of a perfect pop singer but a forward-thinking artist, much like jazz artist Cécile McLorin Salvant.
When songs such as “Don’t Blink” and “The Truth” sit in the realm of neo soul with a grooving rhythm section, cool chords and soulful vocal harmonies, there is a certain satisfaction in hearing all the pieces fit together in support of Williams’ voice. This congruency is especially noticeable live and it’s a style we hope she continues to embrace.
BandWagon presents Kaitlyn “Kdubbs” Williams on Saturday, April 16 at The Black Buzzard at Oskar Blues in Denver with Glass Human and GhostPulse. Click here for tickets at BandWagonPresents.com – Under These Lights is out April 8, more at www.kkaitlynwilliams.com