Sunday, May 23, 6:00pm
His slide, finger-picking and lead work is excellent and there is the best cover of Fred McDowell’s 61 Highway we’ve heard in a couple of decades.—fRoots
Brooks Williams is a blues singing, guitar picking, bottleneck slide playing certified road warrior who has toured continuously for over twenty-one years. His unique combination of traditional and original music inspired Dirty Linen magazine to call Brooks Williams one of “America’s musical treasures.” His guitar skills won him a place on the Top 100 Acoustic Guitarists list, in company with the likes of Michael Hedges, Chet Atkins, Leo Kottke, Doc Watson, and David Bromberg, to name a few.
A native of Statesboro, Georgia (the same Statesboro as Willie McTell’s Statesboro Blues), Brooks has played stages throughout the United States, Canada, Ireland, the United Kingdom and, most recently, Istanbul, Turkey. He has gigged with Taj Mahal, John Hammond, David Bromberg, Maria Muldaur, Chris Smither, Leo Kottke, and Rory Block, and performed the Trowbridge Festival, the Guitar Stars Festival, the Marlborough Jazz Festival, the Champlain Valley Festival, and New Bedford’s Summerfest. And Williams shows no signs of slowing down, with an ongoing schedule of performances in both North America and abroad.
Brooks Williams has released more than 16 albums on labels like Signature Sounds, Green Linnet Records, Red Guitar Blue Music, and Solid Air Records. The Time I Spend With You, 2008’s tour-de-force, went to #3 on the FOLKDJ charts (with three top ten singles, including the Mississippi Fred McDowell standard, 61 Highway) and remained on the charts for six months.
Other ground breaking titles in Williams’ extensive discography include the best-selling roots/blues Knife Edge (1996), produced by Colin Linden, the award-winning instrumental Guitar Player (2005), which made the 100 Greatest Acoustic Guitar Albums list, and his acoustic gem Blues and Ballads (2006).
Brooks Williams has been praised by the likes of The Boston Globe, Acoustic Guitar, Blues In Britain, and Guitar Player. He has appeared on World Café, The BBC, and All Things Considered, and his recordings are favorites on roots and blues radio programs, as well as XM Satellite Radio. His innovative guitar sound-bytes can be heard in between segments on National Public Radio and on Public Television.
In addition to his own music, Williams has recorded tracks on an impressive list of compilations, most notably the National Resophonic Instrumental Project (a Blues Aid benefit), Letters To Bert (a tribute to guitar legend Bert Jansch), and DeLovely Guitar (a tribute to Cole Porter). He has also collaborated with and/or worked as a sideman for Sloan Wainwright, Rani Arbo, Steve Tilston, Karen Tweed, and Paul Asbell.
A devoted educator, Brooks Williams is in high-demand on the summer guitar camp circuit, teaching at The Swannanoa Gathering, Acoustic Alaska, Cedar Run Song Workshops, Newport Guitar Festival, and WUMB’s Summer Acoustic Music Week, to name but a few. He also runs a two-week Guitar For Kids program near his home in Western Massachusetts, as well as sponsoring an annual Guitar Day celebration. Williams’ unique approach to teaching has resulted in the highly anticipated release of his first guitar instructional DVD, Guitar Groove: A Session With Brooks Williams, on Woodhall Music.
As one of the world’s premier acoustic guitarists and singers, Brooks Williams continues to tour worldwide, every night delivering the deepest and most intense interpretations of everything from early blues songs to his recent original compositions. He is quite simply one of the most entertaining and engaging performers on the circuit today. From coast-to-coast, country-to-country, Williams and his guitars roll and tumble like nobody’s business.
In the comfort of an informal living room.