Stone Mountain resident Lisa Williams picked up the guitar when she was 9 years old and taught herself how to play. About the same time her dad, who served in the Vietnam War, was listening to his collection of popular music from the 60s and early 70s on a reel-to-reel tape player.
“I loved that music — Jimi Hendrix, The Beatles' Sgt. Pepper, Crosby Stills Nash & Young,” said Williams. “There was so much great storytelling.”
Williams, an Army brat, was born in New Jersey and lived with her parents, three brothers and one sister, all over — Virginia, Texas, California, Germany and now Atlanta. Her dad retired a full colonel from the army and her mom worked as a nurse. The family traveled from base to base and had to leave friends behind.
But the guitar is something she didn’t have to leave behind. “You can pick up and take it with you and play it anywhere,” said Williams, who can sometimes be spotted around town, guitar in hand, composing a song.
In a recent YouTube Video Williams recalled how much she loved playing her guitar. At Christmas time she and her sister would sneak into her parents’ bedroom and unwrap their presents hidden under the bed. “My sister would try on her new clothes — I would take the guitar out of the box and play it, then wrap it back up and stick it under the bed.”
Williams, who’s been recording acoustic, folk and pop music since 2000 and playing showcases on the east coast, recently released “Seeds of Paper,” her third CD. She writes her own lyrics and delivers them in a deep, voice rich with emotion.
In a screening of the album’s title track, Peter Davis, a music coordinator for Bunim/Murray Productions -- a company that produces shows for MTV -- wrote Lisa has a “unique and powerful voice reminiscent of Tracy Chapman.” Davis also gave her high marks for her songwriting ability in both lyrics and music. “Her music is engaging and complex with a very familiar feeling.”
Williams bases her songs on what has happened to her in her life or what she observes going on around her.
“Song writing is a process. You look around, see what’s happening and write about it," she said. "It may be someone you notice who’s having a hard time. I want to share my stories.”
Seeds of Paper is available on Itunes, Amazon mp3, Zine, Napster and Rhapsody. To listen visit: http://youtu.be/Z1gPuzllCN8.