Single Review: Karl S Williams | O Death / O Come O Come Emmanuel


Earlier this year renowned Gold Coast troubadour Karl S Williams relocated his muse to the artiste-mecca of Melbourne. Since that time it has been relatively quiet on the musical front for the man in the hat. Until now that is, as he once again steps forth to bestow upon us a sublime treasure in the form of a pair of spiritual standards originating many eons ago.

Utterly mesmerising when he chooses to perform odes such as these in the live setting, here Karl delivers passionate recorded takes on these two songs of yore. The first of which sees him embrace the track O Death, an old Appalachian dirge, in a capella mode. Sombre, plaintive and oh so moving, the track sees Karl’s unadorned vocal delivery showcase a deeper, more measured timbre.  O Death is performed with the soul and conviction borne of a true love and respect of the source material.

Second track, O Come O Come Emmanuel, sees Karl in elegant torch song mode. Voice, piano and an occasional faraway, ghostly guitar echo melding to channel an ancient religious hymn, the song’s haunting strains ebbing and flowing across its five magical minutes.

Transcending musical eras and genres, these timeless tracks are soul-stirring resonators of the spiritual and the emotional. The spaces in-between as profound as the words spoken and the music that hangs in the air.   Another spine tingling addition to the ever-burgeoning evolution of the musical shaman that is Karl S Williams.

This special release is available from Karl’s bandcamp page, either as a digital download or in the form of a limited edition 7” vinyl. Be quick, I say.


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