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COLIE WILLIAMS: THE ISLANDER, WASHINGTON DC, DECEMBER 12, 2009
Every once in a while you come across an outstanding artist who is doing their thing right in your own city. That happened to me last week-end when I made it to The Islander in Washington DC to catch Colie Williams. I had heard about her and had conversations with her manager Keyonne Brooks who had been referred to me by my colleague David Nathan. I was quite pleased with the show Colie gave us that night.

Mixing carefully chosen covers with her own well-crafted original songs, Colie is my favorite kind of singer - one who knows a good melody when she hears it and then knows how to deliver it. Her voice is very soothing and smooth. Her notes are always clean and clear. She has a confidence about herself on stage that makes her performance more enjoyable because you feel you're along for the ride with her.

Originally from the Bronx, NY, Colie has been working the stage since high school and through college at Syracuse University. Since relocating to Washington DC, she has performed in musical theater and eventually formed her own brand and created what she calls "Holistic Soul," music to lift and inspire. That's what was evident this night.

Her original songs "The Rhythm" and "All You Need" were definitely crowd pleasers. Also "Passing Day" is an inspirational song Colie offered with believable passion.

When she did Chrisette Michele's "Like A Dream," she infused the song with a sweet jazzy flavor. Corinne Bailey-Rae's "Like A Star" was simply beautiful and intimate. She also reached for something unusual, turning to the Patti Austin song "In and Out Of Love," which was perfectly suited for Colie's style. She also did her own take on Patti LaBelle's "Love, Need and Want You" Not many singers would cover a Labelle tune! One thing in common with these songs are their beautiful melodies and only a strong, sure vocalist would step out and fearlessly master them the way Colie did.

Her four piece band Soul For A New Day (plus a guest soloist on trumpet) were the perfect complement to her vocal styling. The guitarist, D.L. Wotson, in particular stood out, ably supporting Colie and also stepping out with some style of his own that would make Wes Montgomery and George Benson proud.

If Colie is ever in your town do yourself a favor and check her out. And if you are in the DC area, she has a weekly gig at JoJo's on U Street on Wednesdays. I plan on being a regular.

About the Writer
Michael Lewis is a long-time associate at SoulMusic.com. His industry experience includes Sony Music, Motown and La Face Records, and a tenure at HEAR Music. He is grateful to contribute to sustaining the legacy of R&B and soul music.
  

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