"Jazz Age Thump"
Recorded live to tape
Veterans of the American Underground
The Willies are Nashville based roots artists conjuring the spirit of that time before bordello jazz & dirty fingernail blues were the background music for baristas and doggy bakeries. But as veterans of the American underground, the Willies aren’t interested in reenacting the rough and tumble legacy of 20’s swing & blues... they embody that energy. And these genres are only starting points... vintage bottles to contain several lifetimes of experience in the jazz, blues, rockabilly and punk underworld.
The Willies are a sound collage... a musical hybrid where multiple muses reanimate street jazz as the throbbing expression of a vibrant & disreputable counter culture. With the Willies punk meets ragtime. Or cat house jazz is driven by a drugged ska beat. Oi gang vocals layer the blues or a stride piano accompanies an elaborate revenge fantasy. Banjos chunk. A trumpet blares. The vocals pour out sultry, or comic, or crooning or just plain pissed off while the rhythm section thumps with the pounding repetition of a bloated corpse slapping against the hull of a Mississippi riverboat.
These influences reveal a mixed bag of legitimate bohemian back stories. Singer Jen Jones commandeered a road unworthy van and spent years shuffling musicians and authentic swing from NYC to California. Dave Willie and Devin Pena broke ground and broke bones in the embryonic hardcore punk scene. Carco Clave spent decades eating his Thanksgiving dinners out of paper bags while backing Asleep at the Wheel, Little Jimmy Dickens and Chuck Meade. Wunderkind Jeremiah Cline cut his teeth in the subterranean world of urban hillbilly music. And Ben Clark comes to the party as a trained jazzbo with a refined & brutal trumpet attack. . Jim Williamson has recorded with Bobby "Blue" Bland, The Mavericks, Nanci Griffith, and many more. Rob DeHart, who played with the Huntsville Symphony, and David Doughtie(washboard) add grinding rhythm and complete the circus that The Willies live show has become.
The Willies are counter cultural zealots. You can see it in their live shows. Their raucous stage banter. Their energetic reworking of traditional standards. But most of all this passion comes through in their original compositions. Their raison d’etre. This is the place where Willies get to catalog their influences... to construct new wholes from past memories... eagerly looking forward but always open to the influence of the ghosts and demons froma wildly entertaining past.