Frontman who packed it all in to teach is back with Lancaster library gig

Tom Williams
Tom Williams

Folk rock musician Tom Williams calls in at Lancaster library this month for a Sunday matinee performance.

A few years ago, Tom Williams and The Boat were signed to Moshi Moshi, beloved of BBC 6 Music, and supported Adele.

But the frontman decided to pack it all in and turn to teaching, with no plans to make a record again.

Then, in 2017, he produced his fifth album All Change – with the help of some school children, and a group of first year students from Leeds.

Written in practice rooms across Kent. Lyrics came to him on the long daily drives from his home in Hastings.

The band were music tech students, who helped him out on an artist-in-residence programme.

All Change is a reflection of Williams’ life-long love affair with 1970s American rock showcasing a new refinement to his songwriting, and a more commercial edge.

Tom Williams and the Boat – formed with friends from his hometown Tunbridge Wells in the late 2000s – came to prominence with their debut album Too Slow in 2010 and quickly picked up support from the BBC’s Lauren Laverne, Steve Lamacq, Cerys Matthews and Huw Stephens.

“The stars just never aligned for us,” Williams said.

“I was about to turn 30, I was getting married, and I was teaching and I really love it. I’ve got a mortgage. I’m not that fussed. And I was content!”

In January 2016 Williams’ new songs came to life when he was offered a week-long artist-in-residence job at the music department of Leeds Beckett University. He said he’d do it if they could provide him with a band – who turned out to be six 19 year-old music tech students including Jack Clayton (drums), Jake Mehew (keys) and Igor Dall’Avanzi on bass.

“They were the best band I’ve ever had. I was there pretending to be a success, and they were there pretending to be a band, and we met in the middle and bluffed each other, and it worked.”

He appears at the library on Sunday March 18 at 2pm. Tickets are £9 from seetickets.com.