Singer Joy Williams gets acting bug after Showtime role

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Ex-Civil Wars singer Joy Williams doesn't want to be that cliche of a musician-turned-actor, but after getting her first role in the Showtime series "Roadies," she admits she's got the acting bug.

"I am learning there is the cliche for a reason 'cause there is a lot of overlap," she said in an interview last week at her home in Nashville, Tennessee. "I am still really committed to making music, but if the right role came up again, I totally caught the bug."

Williams probably couldn't have picked a better show to dip her toes in the water. Created by Cameron Crowe, "Roadies" pulls back the curtains on the motley crew of a major touring rock band, an experience that Williams knows a bit about after spending years on the road performing in the Grammy-winning Civil Wars duo with John Paul White.

"You become this strange patchwork quilt family when you're on the road," Williams said.

Williams and Crowe met on Twitter, then developed a friendship after she and her family moved to Venice Beach, California. Alongside lead actors Luke Wilson and Carla Gugino, "Roadies" — which airs Sundays — includes cameos from other real musicians like Lindsey Buckingham, My Morning Jacket's Jim James and the Head and the Heart. But Williams said Crowe wanted her to audition for a non-musical role.

Williams plays Janine, the ex-girlfriend of the band's lead singer. She said she can relate to the character "trying to find her own voice and trying to stand up for herself."

After the Civil Wars formally announced their breakup in 2014, Williams said she went on a journey to rediscover her voice as a solo artist. She released "Venus" in 2015 and threw fans for a loop by recording an album full of electronic-based music, a departure from the country folk music that marked her work in the Civil Wars.

"For me, I needed to create an entirely new sonic space where I could feel my pulse again," Williams said.

After moving back to Nashville with her husband and manager Nate and 4-year-old son Miles, she felt grounded again to acoustical music. On Friday, she released a seven-song record, "Venus (Acoustic)," that includes acoustic versions of songs from her solo album, as well as some new songs that didn't make the final cut.

"I wasn't placating people by going back to an acoustic sound," Williams said. "It was something that I really missed."

Williams said she's glad the two creative paths, her music and her acting, are converging at the same time. Acting has given her another "insta-family," she said, but "music will always be a priority for me."




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