Originally posted 2/13/16 TRIBUTE TO KIM WILLIAMS by Marc-Alan Barnette
So sorry learn of Kim Williams passing away two days ago. He was a great guy and talented individual…always facing what crossed his path. As brothers in songwriting, I had the honor to share in words and music, as often happens in Nashville. One particular time that comes to mind is when we passed each other as we did separate demos one day. We passed each other as he left the studio to get his copy and I got to the studio to sing my vocal. My song was a completely forgettable nothing song. His, “IF THE DEVIL DANCED IN EMPTY POCKETS," would go on to be a number one; and a huge hit for Joe Diffie.
I would get to see him at number one parties for GARTH BROOK'S on "AIN'T GOING DOWN TILL THE SUN COMES UP" and "PAPA LOVED MAMA." He seemingly always had a hit record out there, and was always around town. He overcame a tragic hot water heater accident that had occurred when he was very young, leaving him with health problems his entire life.
Earlier on in my career I played in town with a band. During the show, the band would have a break while I played a short acoustic set. Being a huge fan of Les Miserables, I would throw in “BRING HIM HOME,” which is one of my favorite songs from the musical. One of those nights, Kim Williams was in the audience. Turns out he was also a huge fan of Les Miserables. The song caught his attention and he called me the next morning. Needless to say, I was thrilled to hear from such a talent. He wanted to write that type of a song to round out his catalogue. Of course, I jumped at the chance to write with him!
We got together that following week at his office and started out by revisiting some songs from Les Miz. Then, I worked up a guitar melody as he filled in lyrics. In an hour and a half, we had our first verse, which was somber, quiet and stirring (much different from my own catalogue, as well). Kim then pipes up and says “Man, we are writing about death here!” And, he was right. But, it was very much a power ballad. We called it a day to give Kim some rest (results from his hot water accident). I was so energized from the session with Kim, I continued on with a second verse and BIG chorus.
The next week, we got back together and Kim really liked the new verse and chorus. We made a few edits and booked studio time. A couple of weeks later, we had our song done and recorded. I played it out around town, while Kim pitched it. I still play it out and it continues to be requested. One of those heartfelt, timeless songs that will find its artist owner one day. The song is “All Alone Again.”
Over the years I would see and hear Kim, and he would always get me to play that song. The last time was a couple years ago at the Smoky Mountain Songwriter's Festival, where I played it onstage in front of him, his wife and DOUG JOHNSON (Kim's co-writer on "THREE WOODEN CROSSES"). I was thrilled to be able to represent the song among such great talent and it was definitely a career high and honor to be able to do and receive their complements.
So he passed on Thursday, February 11, 2016. and all the tributes are coming out. I hope to post mine and that song on Facebook. I am still very proud of it and proud of my association with Kim. As you will read from all the various postings and articles, he was an absolute jewel of a guy and a great inspiration to all who want to try to write and do something creative. He touched us all in so many ways. This was mine.