By Jimmy Ring | May 30, 2023
A warm, clear Brooklyn night welcomed Will Westerman back to the Music Hall of Williamsburg, the 12th stop on an ambitious 20-city US tour. After three years outside of the US, the impassioned singer/songwriter was bubbling to share what he had been working on. Two full length albums, a bag full of successful singles, and countless hours of thoughtful, deliberate songwriting lay in wait, ready to be unleashed upon an eager New York crowd. Westerman is a UK-based musician best known for his soulful vocals, heartfelt songwriting, and introspective lyricism. Touring with his four-piece band, Westerman wears his emotions on his sleeve each night, displaying the beautiful impact that sharing one’s soul can have on the world.
The excitement in the room was thick as Westerman took the stage to tune his guitars, and the nervous smile on his face foretold the intimate night that was to come. The crowd went silent as he stepped up to the mic and began an acapella version of “Paper Dogs,” inviting the crowd to rest calmly in the palm of his hands. Dust falling silently in the spotlight behind him, Westerman wove emotional vocals between the gentle snaps of his fingers, captivating everyone in the room from the get-go. From there, he picked up an acoustic guitar and plucked his way into a touching version of “An Inbuilt Fault,” the title track off of his latest album.
After setting the heartfelt, close-knit tone of the night, Westerman introduced the members of the band. Each member took their seats at the keys, drumset, and bass as the frontman picked up his cream-colored stratocaster. Electric guitar, sweeping synths, and up-tempo drum kicks showed off the group’s musical range while Westerman’s singing carried the common thread. At once ethereal and existential, the singer’s words held the room suspended in a trancelike state, mesmerized and absorbed in the sound. Each song was evident of the work of an artist in his studio and the hours he poured into his songwriting were palpable. His love for writing music shined brightly through the thought-provoking nature of the lyrics and in each passionate twist of his high flying vocals.
Midway through the set, Westerman addressed the crowd in praise of his opening acts, Mason Lindahl and Twain, taking a moment to sincerely thank and compliment each artist and to invite Twain’s singer Mat Davidson out to sing. Davidson’s high, falsetto voice paired in sweet harmony with Westerman’s mid-range vocals on a heart-rending run through “Roads.” The song’s chorus, featuring the line “Staring up the road to nowhere” evoked common themes of the night: of feeling lost but not directionless; of feeling lonely, but not without hope.
Towards the end of the night, Westerman gave an earnest thank you to the crowd. His gratitude was abundantly clear as he told the crowd how much it meant to him to share himself with the world through his art. Through his voice, his intimacy, and his delicate songwriting, Westerman returned to Williamsburg carrying a message of both emotional tenderness and inspiring honesty.