Sharing is caring!

Disclosure: I participated in the Joy Williams Venus album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided an album to review but all opinions are my own.

Honestly, before I was asked to review this album I had no idea who Joy Williams was. That is, until I read she was one-half of the four-time Grammy Award-winning folk-rock duo The Civil Wars. I have several of their albums and especially love the popular songs “Dust to Dust” and “The One That Got Away“, not to mention the Taylor Swift Hunger Games song “Safe & Sound” in which they were featured.

The Civil Wars broke up in August 2014 citing “internal discord and irreconcilable differences of ambition” as reasons for why they were “unable to continue as a touring entity.”


Williams wrote her first song for Venus on June 24, 2013 in Nashville, just a few days before her son Miles’ 1st birthday. She went on to write 75+ songs for this record over the following year. Almost exactly 2 years to the day her album debuts to rave reviews.

Williams has a beautiful, earthy, almost hauntingly soulful voice. As I listened to Venus for the first time, my husband–who never comments on my music except to ask me to turn it down–asked me the name of the artist. Then he had me add it to his iPhone playlist.

I was captivated with Venus from the very first track “Before I Sleep”, which happens to be the first song she wrote for the album. It has the feel of a song from The Civil Wars, but with more of a bubbly, pop tone. Williams states ““Before I Sleep” and “Until the Levee”…are a bridge to some of the things we did with The Civil Wars. …both felt like the gentlest way to bring in people that may have been aware of The Civil Wars before, with the antiqued imagery-laden lyrics and the sonics that we created around it. It wasn’t some sort of calculated thing, just a natural progression.”

I can honestly say there isn't one song on this album that I do not love. Check out her video of “Woman (Oh Mama)” below and see for yourself!

“For me, [Venus] it’s my coming-of-age album, becoming the woman I’ve always wanted to be. I think over the course of the last couple of years making this album, I finally felt that I stepped into my own skin. I’ve spent my whole life trying to be the best version of myself, and I’ve finally let myself just be me.

It was all I knew how to do. It was a way to move forward. To heal. To find my own voice again and to stand on my own two feet.  I wanted it to reflect what I’ve gone through. I wanted to make a personal album that people could find their own stories in, too. It wasn’t easy, but I wanted to be brave enough to write through it. Then move beyond it.” Joy Williams


Pre-order Joy's album today on iTunes & Amazon

Connect with Joy Williams:

Official Joy Williams website:

Twitter – @joywilliams

Facebook –

YouTube –

Instagram –

Joy Williams – Venus

Track Listings

1 Before I Sleep Joy Williams
2 Sweet Love of Mine Joy Williams
3 Woman (Oh Mama) Joy Williams
4 One Day I Will Joy Williams
5 Not Good Enough Joy Williams
6 What a Good Woman Does Joy Williams
7 Until the Levee Joy Williams
8 You Loved Me Joy Williams
9 The Dying Kind Joy Williams
10 Till Forever Joy Williams
11 Welcome Home Joy Williams

You might be surprised to learn that Venus isn't Williams' first solo album. In 1996, at the age of 14, she was offered a recording contract, but she turned down the opportunity to pursue a normal childhood. Three years later she signed a recording contract with Reunion Records. Her debut album was recorded during her final years in high school, and Williams followed it with 2002's By Surprise and 2005's Genesis.

After Genesis' release, Williams ended her relationship with Reunion Records and began writing songs for other artists. She returned to her solo career in 2009, releasing a series of EPs under her Sensibility Music label. That same year, she also released Live at Eddie's Attic, which marked her debut with John Paul White as secular Americana/folk act the Civil Wars. Prior to the duo's 2014 split, they won four Grammy Awards and topped the Billboard 200 with their second, self-titled album.

Joy Elizabeth Williams, born on November 14, 1982, grew up in the Santa Cruz Mountains on the central coast of California, where her father, Roger Williams, served as the executive director of Mt. Hermon Christian Conference Center. In interviews, Williams would later state that living in an environment that hosted prominent spiritual leaders led her to become “a learned extrovert.” During high school, she excelled and was often labeled a super-achiever, maintaining a 4.0 GPA while also filling the roles of varsity athlete and student body president.

Williams initially planned on a career in journalism or family therapy. Instead, the California resident signed with Reunion Records at the age of 17 and released her debut project in 2001. Mixing elements of contemporary Christian music into an intimate form of pop music, she enjoyed a successful CCM career during the early 2000s, earning multiple nominations at the Dove Awards and selling over 250,000 copies of her first three albums. Williams eventually expanded beyond the sacred world, serving as a songwriter for Warner/Chappell Music and founding her own company, Sensibility Music, with husband Nate Yetton. She also formed the Civil Wars with fellow songwriter John Paul White. The four time Grammy Award-winning acoustic folk duo broke up in August 2014.

Disclosure: I participated in the Joy Williams Venus album review program as a member of One2One Network. I was provided an album to review but all opinions are my own.