He was once in the The Ankle Stars, now Rhys Williams is moving up and heading towards solo stardom. And tomorrow night he is appearing on a Sheffield stage for the first time this century.
Rhys, originally from Caerphilly in South Wales, moved here to study English literature aged 18, and ended up playing guitar in the acclaimed but ultimately unsuccessful local band which split up at the end of the 1990s. Since then, he has moved to London and had been quietly working towards getting his own act together, with diversions such as playing flute for Morrissey, both on an album and on stage, and singing at the Royal Albert Hall.
His debut solo album, Great Falls – dedicated to ‘the majesty of the heroic plummet’ – was released near the end of last year and led to him being described as ‘a songwriter of great dexterity’ who creates ‘day-glo ditties with dark edges.’
He originally intended to rock out on the album but decided to concentrate on the melodies, inspired by legends such as the Beatles, Beach Boys and Steely Dan.
Red, the second single from the album, is out at the start of next week, a very catchy number with definite commercial potential which has already been played by Graham Norton on Radio Two, although the video, shot in Amsterdam’s red light district, is likely to prevent it getting mainstream television showings.
He’s on at the Red House tomorrow (June 15), along with Hungarian Lanterns (who contain two Ankle Stars in Anthony J Brown and Elliot Huntley) and Chris Murphy And Boxer Genius. The night is a fundraiser for the British Red Cross.