Musical Biography
Horace Williams, Jr.

Horace Williams 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.

Soon after, 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 instrument. 

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.

Musician friends 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 sang.

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 others.

Around 1985, 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. 

After founding '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.

Another avocation 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 Innocence'.

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, and staircases.

Dovetailed 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. 

(802) 349-1280

Skype: horacewilliamsjr

Back To Homepage