CD Review: Moving Forward by Bernie Williams Print
Thursday, 28 May 2009 09:23
By Ken Volpe – GJD Contributor
Sometimes, we are blessed to experience an individual that possesses greatness in two completely different arenas.  Bernie Williams definitely fits into that rare mold.  His latest release, Moving Forward, showcases Mr. Williams’ talents as a composer and a performer.  In addition, he allows some of the industry’s top session musicians to lend their own creativity and to share in the spotlight, which I believe to be a sign of humility and artistic integrity.

The CD starts with the title cut, “Moving Forward.” It is a feel good tune with great melody lines and masterful guitar layering. Bernie’s steel-string guitar sounds sit wonderfully in the mix. His tone is crisp and warm with a bell like timbre. The track also features an interesting bridge and some amazing percussion. 

The third cut titled, “Songo” features more great acoustic lines and some Holdsworthian shredding courtesy of Scott Henderson.  I must admit I would have liked to have Scott’s guitar be up a bit higher in the mix. 

A little further down the line Bernie lets it rip on an instrumental Praise tune called “He Reigns.” I always enjoy Praise tunes that are well done like this one because the music showcases the majesty of the Holy One.  Also, I really enjoyed Michael Landau’s solo at the end of the song. 

Next I sampled, “Chillin in the West,” which is another well-crafted gem.  Bernie’s sense of melody and blending of rhythm is top notch.  Towards the end of the CD, Bernie does a beautiful rendition of “Take Me Out To The Ball Game.”  Any true Yankee fan will appreciate the intro by legendary announcer Bob Sheppard.  Bernie kind of reminds me of the great Tommy Emmanuel on this cut. 

Moving Forward, contains 14 total songs with a variety of styles including some vocal tunes by Bruce Springsteen and John Secada.  There is also a huge Latin influence throughout that fits perfectly with Bernie’s liquid guitar tones.  Some of the tunes have a Rippingtons-like flavor; but at the same time are very unique in their own way.  Bernie’s compositions are both complex and simple and contain very natural transitions.  Bernie weaves in his signature riffs throughout on a variety of Electric and Acoustic guitars.  Additionally, the recording quality and production are off the chain.

As a third generation Yankee fan and a lifelong musician, this project has a special place in my heart.  The thing that really struck a chord with me is how similar Bernie’s music and his baseball skills are to each other.  Both exhibit dedication, passion, grace, and class.  Moving Forward is so good, that even a Boston Red Sox fan will love it.