Horace Williams, Jr.
Jr. began experimenting with music at the age of 4. Hearing his
mother play piano, he explored the instrument on his own, trying to
replicate the wonderful things he heard her play. Three weeks
before turning 14, a friend pulled a guitar from under his bed and
played a version of 'Michael Row the Boat Ashore'. Horace
was hooked - he talked his friend into teaching him the song, and holed
up in a tiny room behind the garage for an entire Saturday, not eating
or resting, until he could play it perfectly.
In that one single day, a lifetime of music was born.
Horace began playing for live audiences in bands with friends, and
played lead guitar in a country band his Uncle Ed led. By the age
of 15, he was already teaching guitar to adults and children at the
local YMCA. When he turned 16, in 1967, Horace began recording in what
was then a state of the art 8 track analog studio. Later, at age
eighteen, after losing many band members to the draft during Vietnam,
Horace was forced to begin performing solo in order to have gigs
- using a Jim McGuinn 12 string Rickenbacker as his primary
At age 19, he
sought and found a professional 2 track recorder that had the unusual
attribute of a single record and playback head, and was thus able to
modify it to be able to record on one of the two tracks, then listen to
that first track and record independently on the other. Another
modification allowed him to disable the erase heads - and with care, be
able to record 4 parts independently onto this two track recorder, by
carefully underprinting one track slightly, then carefully recording
another part right over that track without erasing, mixing on the fly,
so that 4 parts could be placed on those two tracks.
By the early
1970's, session work picked up as a member of the Scratch Band.
During this time, Horace sang background vocals for Donovan, and worked
on sessions with Andrew Loog Oldham (producer for the Rolling Stones),
among many others. When Horace left this band, he was replaced by GE
Smith, and many of the other members stayed on to become the Saturday
Night Live house band.
in the folk genre began asking for help producing their album projects
in the late 70's, knowing that Horace had this wealth of
experience in the studio. During this time, he produced 'Baptism
of Fire' for Lui Collins, which still sells to this day, 30 years
later. Horace also co-produced "Existential Blues' by T-Bone
Stankus, which was number one nationwide for five years in a row on Dr.
Demento's syndicated radio program.
In 1980, Horace
and a musician friend named Bill Lauf recorded a song called 'Vermont
is Afire in the Autumn', which was subsequently played on 24 out
of 25 Vermont radio stations for several weeks, making the 'A' pile on
6 stations. Bill and Horace followed this with a walking concert
tour of the entire state of Vermont, from the Canadian border down
scenic rt 100 all the way to the Massachusettes border, literally
following the peak foliage as it migrated southward as they walked and
This was followed
by three more such tours, all in the fall, all predicated on following
the peak foliage on foot: Sherbrooke Quebec to New Haven
Connecticut down the Connecticut river valley in 1981, Montreal to
Manhattan - 65 shows at every imaginable venue in 26 days, and finally,
a solo walk by Horace down the Champlain Islands in 1984.
During this time,
Horace recorded an album with Bill entitled 'Weight of the Rose', which
found it's way to several countries, and was recently reviewed as a
'classic' by Dirty Linen magazine. 'Amniotic Universe' from this
album was used as the musical bed for NPR's 'All Things Considered' for
about 2 years worldwide as well. Another example of Horace's own
work is a project called 'Images', done with Bill Lauf and David
Darling (original cellist - Paul Winter Consort), John Bagale, and
Horace began to feel a need to assemble a studio setup of his own - a
much more daunting task then than it is now. Unable to afford the
lease on a 50K console, Horace began researching the possibility of
building one on his own, from scratch. Five years and 7K in parts
later, he had his own hand-built 'desk', and had educated himself in
audio electronics to the point where he was able to invent a new
no-loss pan pot, and build this console with a super clean minimalist
signal path, with almost no capacitors in the audio chain, balanced mix
busses, and several 'flavors' of parametric EQ.
'Little Castle Studio' in 1989 with this console, he went on to record
approximately 200 cassette and CD projects. Most were acoustic oriented
music - Folk, Bluegrass, Jazz, Classical, Singer-songwriter, Country,
etc, with the usual mix of local bands thrown in for good measure.
of Horace's has been woking with children and education both formally
and informally. In 1984, Horace founded a summer camping program
for the Migrant Education Dept, State of Vermont Rural Education
Center, whose purpose was to provide a recurring social base of friends
for kids in farm families in Vermont who moved often. This camping
program remains open today, 28 years later, under other auspices, as
'Camp Exclamation Point' - providing a summer camping experience for
low income Vermont children.
In the last five
years, Little Castle has expanded to be able to do film editing and
audio post for film and video. Most notably, Horace has done film
editing, dialog, sound design, ADR, foley, animation, and written a
score for a 12 million dollar movie project entitled 'Birth of
Horace is also an
artist in other disciplines; he has built a 53' high stone sculpture
with a 3 ton circular staircase floating in mid-air, several unusual
house projects including two stone houses and built passive solar homes
as long ago as 1979, and countless pieces of furniture, cabinetwork,
through it all, Horace has kept his performing career alive as well,
amassing a repertoire of several hundred songs, specializing in
communicating the work of unknown contemporary songwriters to audiences
who otherwise wouldn't be able to enjoy their work.
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