A ‘featured Album’ on ABC Radio, Christiaan Willems’ contempory album, ‘Once in a While,’ features evocative songs, a unique collaborative process and some of the finest guest musicians around.
Christiaan Willems – Once in a While by John Williams
Christiaan Willems had a great idea. I don’t know if it is unique, but it takes some intestinal fortitude to do it. He composed 14 songs, put down a basic accompaniment and then sent them to a variety of other musicians to add their own instrumentation as they deemed it appropriate. They then sent them back for mixing. It could have been a disaster, but it’s a credit to Christiaan and his many musical friends that this album works. As he says in his album notes, his previous album was titled Trust No-one whereas for this CD he had to trust everyone. There were eight other musicians who were involved and appear on various tracks on the CD. Christiaan plays guitar and does the percussion throughout the CD. He is talented at both and creates some very intriguing sounds. Christiaan has a very creative voice, which suits the lyrics he has composed and allows him to use his vocal abilities to their best effect. All 14 tracks are worth a listen. I enjoyed “Once In a While”, with its lyrics regarding the unimportant things we all listen to in our lives. Christiaan shows his vocal ability to great effect in “Intoxicating”, which also displays great piano accompaniment by Jeff Usher. “Just the Same” is about a man guessing what his partner is thinking. Mark Hilton is the accompanist on bass on this track. He also plays on several other tracks. “Brand New Days”, “Siam”, “Take That”, “Foolish”, “Steppin out”, “Perhaps” and “As Long” are all great to listen to and have interesting lyrics. These all have a similar feel to them musically. I enjoyed “Satisfied” in particular. It is a beautiful song about the questioning of a relationship. “Do It All” is a song about a driven career woman called Marianne. “Slide” is a different type of song to the others with Ceri McCoy on saxophone doing a great job. The final track is “Hold Everything”, with Briony Luttrell doing a great job accompanying Christiaan on the cello. All the tracks on the CD are very easy to listen to. The nature of the exercise means you get a real variety and all the tracks are interesting. This was a bold experiment and one I enjoyed listening to. I think you will too.