Willie Watson

Willie Watson

Apr 16, 2015 |  0 comments
Date: Apr 16, 2015 Time: 8:00 PM Price: $12/advance, $15/day of show Type: Singer/Songwriter/Folk/Americana

Looking like a man from leaner and meaner times, Willie Watson steps on stage with a quiet
gravitas. But, when he opens his mouth and lets out that high lonesome vocal, you can hear him
loud and clear.
His debut solo album, Folk Singer Vol. 1, was produced by David Rawlings at Woodland Sound
Studios, the studio he co-owns with associate producer Gillian Welch in Nashville, TN, over the
course of a pair of two-day sessions, for their own Acony Records label. The album spans ten
songs from the American folk songbook ranging from standards like “Midnight Special,”
“Mexican Cowboy” and Richard “Rabbit” Brown’s “James Alley Blues” to the more obscure,
like Memphis Slim’s 12-bar blues, “Mother Earth,” Gus Cannon and the Jug Stompers’ “Bring it
With You When You Come,” Land Norris’ double-entendre kids chant, “Kitty Puss” and St.
Louis bluesman Charley Jordan’s sing-song “Keep It Clean.” Like the music, Willie can be
murderous, bawdy or lustful, sometimes in the course of a single song, with a sly sense of humor
that cuts to the quick. He counters a masterful bravado with the tragic fragility of one who has
been wounded.
“There’s a lot of weight in the way Willie performs,” says Rawlings, longtime friend and
producer of Watson’s previous band, Old Crow Medicine Show. “He’s had some tragedy in his
life, which has informed his art. There’s an emotional edge to what he does because of who he is
as a human being. Willie is the only one of his generation who can make me forget these songs
were ever sung before.”
Born in Watkins Glen, N.Y.—best-known for its race track and the rock festival of the same
name which took place there, featuring the Allman Brothers, Grateful Dead and The Band—
Watson grew up listening to his father’s basement record collection, including Bob Dylan and
Neil Young, before stumbling on a Leadbelly album at the age of 12. Combined with having
heard plenty of local string bands—featuring old-time banjo and fiddle—Willie experienced an
epiphany.
“As soon as I heard that record,” he recalls, “I was hooked.”
With a voice that could quaver in the operatic style of his favorite, Roy Orbison, Willie went on
to discover North Carolina Appalachian fiddle and banjo players Tommy Jarrell and Fred
Cockerham, who played songs like “Cripple Creek,” “Sugar Hill” and “John Brown’s Dream” on
a compilation cassette of “round peak style” music. He began to unearth Folkways albums,
including the label’s groundbreaking 1952 Harry Smith compilation, Anthology of American
Folk Music, which helped kick-start the ‘60s folk revival lovingly captured in the Coen brothers’
Inside Llewyn Davis. He discovered like-minded souls in Old Crow Medicine Show.
“When we started that band, I found people that were cut from the same musical cloth,” he says.
“They were my age, into the same thing, going down a similar road. We started sharing our
influences, trading records and playing together.”

visit his website:http://www.williewatson.com/

Leave a Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *