After years of playing supporting roles, Stephen Williams is ready to step into the spotlight.
Williams, better known around the Prince Albert music scene as South West, is typically known for backing up other singers and songwriters. That’s going to change on Friday when he releases his self-titled debut album.
“It’s a pretty celestial feeling man,” Williams said when asked about his new release. “I’ve had a lot of these songs for about, give-or-take, six years, and I’ve always been the person who has backed up other musicians. I’ve played bass for this band and I’ve played guitar for this one, so it’s pretty special to be able to have my own thing out there finally.”
The album contains nine original tracks written and performed by Williams, who turned to his own life experiences as inspiration for the album. He described his music as stemming from love, forgiveness, and sincerity.
“My coping mechanism is my music,” he explained. “When I’m feeling something or something happens in my life, I go grab a pen and paper and my guitar and I go and write those songs.”
Williams said that’s been a bit of a challenge since COVID-19 started. Postponements and cancellations have limited the experiences artists can draw on, he explained, but there have been benefits too.
“You have that time to sit down and really focus,” he said. “I’ve found the experience side might be lacking a bit more, but you have more time to focus on writing.”
Williams also received a boost from his longtime friend Joe Rohs, who produced the album. Without him, Williams said it would have been difficult to get the project off the ground.
“The guy pushing me and kicking me to get it out would be Joel Rohs,” Williams said. “He’s also a huge inspiration for the album too.”
Williams plans to celebrate the album with a performance and CD release party at the Rock Trout Performance and Event Venue on Friday. He’ll be joined on stage by a few musical guests, with high school friend Chelsey Herman opening.
“She’s very similar to my own style, I find,” Williams said. “She’s a very folksy singer-songwriter.”
The doors open at 7:30 p.m., with the show starting at 8 p.m. Tickets are $15 in advance, or $20 at the door. For more information, visit the Rock Trout Events Facebook page.