As we sit here in between Martin Luther King, Jr. day and Black History Month, with the current state of sociopolitical affairs in the world, we are reminded of the urgency of the issues of race and social justice. These topics are too meaningful and complex to be confined to a few markings on the calendar, and bassist Ben Williams is preparing to add to the conversation with the release of a new album I AM A MAN on February 7. The Grammy-winning artist has given his second preview of the project with a gorgeously haunting new single appropriately titled “We Shall Overcome.”
Keeping with his reputation of unpredictable, genre-stretching music, Williams delivers a slow-churning track with meditative instrumentals and chant-like vocal lines that weave through the mix with stunning results. Aided by a superb supporting cast of Justin Brown on drums, Kris Bowers on keys, and David Rosenthal on guitar, Williams makes an impressive achievement of delivering moving music with an unceasingly patient and understated touch. The track’s simplicity and palpable emotions make for an apt musical representation of the struggle of the civil rights activists over the years to make even the most common-sense changes to society in pursuit of equality. The fight to end discrimination is far from over, but artistic contributions like Ben Williams’ “We Shall Overcome” keep the issues in our collective consciousness as we strive for a more peaceful future.