[We're A Happy Family] Kacy & Clayton and Marlon Williams release "Plastic Bouquet"11-12-2020
It's 12972,05 kilometers that separates Saskatoon, Saskatchewan in Canada from Christchurch, New Zealand. Every December, Christchurch enjoys the start of summer as in Saskatoon it begins to freeze. For as far apart as these places may seem Plastic Bouquet brings them together. Plastic Bouquet is the debut collaborative album between Kacy & Clayton from Saskatoon and New Zealand singer and songwriter Marlon Williams.
Kacy & Clayton are a duo whose music recalls the glory-days of British folk-rock, they feature the talents of vocalist Kacy Anderson and guitarist and vocalist Clayton Linthicum. While their music has a recognizable country influence, their strong harmonies, evocative but sweetly sad melodies, and Linthicum's guitar work recall the U.K. folk sound of Fairport Convention and Richard & Linda Thompson, although the homespun tone of their lyrics owes more to the work of Canadian folk icons Ian & Sylvia.
Marlon Williams is a versatile singer/songwriter based out of New Zealand. Williams crafts narrative-driven, atmospheric indie folk songs that draw from a deep, and often dark, well of country, soul, bluegrass, and pop. Known for his commanding voice, which evokes artists like Richard Hawley, Porter Wagoner, Chris Isaak, and Roy Orbison, Williams emerged in 2015 with a sound that hewed closer to brooding folk and bluegrass. He shifted almost exclusively to soulful retro-pop on his chart-topping 2018 breakup album Make Way for Love.
It was somewhere in 2018 when Williams started to send Kacy & Clayton instagram messages after he heard Kacy & Clayton’s “Springtime Of The Year”. It turned out both had a mutual admiration for many of the same records and a pen pal was born. When Kacy and Marlon started sending back and forth some songs recording plans were made after. Now, these three musicians find common ground between a lifelong shared passion for Western country, folk, and troubadour traditions. “We wanted to see if we could meld hemispheres,” says Marlon. “I’m bringing this Pacific style of country music with the harmonies and choral elements. Kacy & Clayton have a super identifiable sound."
Plans where made and Marlon hopped a flight to Saskatoon for Christmas 2018. There they wrote and recorded the bulk of what would become Plastic Bouquet. As there weren't any opportunities to rehearse they recorded the songs as they where learning them. Most of the songs where recorded in Saskatoon with Kacy & Clayton's rhythm section Mike Silverman and Andy Beisel. For these songs Barrett Ross, who recorded Kacy & Clayton’s “Stange Country” did the engineering. A little later the three recorded a few more songs at Creative Workshop in Nashville with Parker Carson engineering. The release was mixed in Welland, Ontario by Kenny Meeham (Daniel Romano) and also in Lyttleton, New Zealand by Ben Edwards.
A lot of people involved from many regions but they unlocked undeniable chemistry as Marlon underwent a transformation of his own. “I became a farm boy really quickly,” he chuckles. “I stayed on the ranch with Kacy’s family, and we had a power outage trying to chop wood. It was below 20 degrees and gave me a total shock! I completely jumped in their world. We found a dynamic that worked well, because we all love old Bob Dylan and Merle Haggard and have the same sense of humor. We’re kindred spirits.”
Similarities between Williams and Kacy & Clayton are to find in the share of common fondness for the tones and sensibilities of certain country and folk records. According to Clayton on cultural perspective there’s not much difference between the both of them either as they both live in lands that where colonized by the same crown, although they would love to visit this part of the word and get a better sense of it. Differences between to both Clayton mainly sees in the recording process. He thinks Marlon is more accustomed to working songs out in the studio where Kacy & Clayton intent to work things out before the recording stage.
The connection between the three of them resulted in Plastic Bouquet, a record with eleven songs that see the light today: December 11th 2020.
“Arahura” directly reflects Marlon’s roots as it “brings the South to the North” with a Pacific harmonic sensibility, ethereal melody, and slow burning soundscape. “Arahura is a river in New Zealand,” he says. “There were a lot of wars fought over Pounamu (greenstone). So, the song takes the perspective of the river. I’m wondering why silly humans are fighting over rocks when there are so many at the bottom. This was a chance for us to tell a Pacific story on the album. It’s a special one.” The bluegrass sway of the title track offsets a sunny singalong with a somber recollection, “He was a good kid, that’s what they say, on the cross by the highway, with a plastic bouquet.”
Williams' otherworldly croon leads the way, blending beautifully with Kacy Anderson's voice in a winning combination of diverse talents.