“I just play straight country music, it’s pretty simple,” Marlon Williams says. “There’s not much to it, except a guy with a guitar telling stories.”

The influence from legends of the genre that he started listening to at a young age, such as Hank Williams and Townes Van Zandt, has a strong presence in Williams' music.

There are also hints of gospel reverie, perhaps imbued from time spent touring with choirs through Europe in his teens. “I had to make a call whether I'd be an opera singer or try to be a country singer,” Williams says. “I can smoke if I'm a country singer.”

Since moving to Melbourne last year, the New Zealand native has already made a name for himself in his new hometown. He’s played a slew of gigs including Queenscliff Music Festival last weekend and a run of sold out shows at the Yarra Hotel.

This weekend he's heading off to play Meredith Music Festival and says he'll be packing only the essentials:

Music for the road trip
“I'm really looking forward to seeing Sleep play. I may buy a copy of Dopesmoker and listen to the whole album on the way, just to get in the mood and prepare myself for that. It's a one-song album so it's nice and epic, and probably a pretty good driving album.”

Drinks
“Obviously, Meredith is BYO so I'm going to be bringing a fair amount of booze. But I'm going to try and drink it all on Friday. I'm playing on Sunday at 11am so I have to sabotage myself on Friday. These are the preventative measures I have to take so I can put on a good performance.”

Reading material
“For Saturday, I'm going to take a science fiction book. Sci-fi is what I like to read when I'm feeling hungover or anxious. I'm reading a book called the The Star King at the moment, a massive space opera of a book written by Jack Vance.”

Guitar
“I play a Martin solid mahogany body. It's a very precious guitar to me so I'm an idiot for having a shit case for it. I have to get a new guitar case before the weekend, it's more holes than case at the moment.”

Marlon Williams plays at Meredith Music Festival on Sunday December 14 at 11am.

marlonwilliams.co.nz