Authentic Americana music with a bona fide, genuine, one-of-a-kind, one-man-band!
Willie the One-Man-Band has shared the stage with acts as diverse as Styx, Ten Years After, Canned Heat, Roger Miller, Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Larry McCray, Steven Page (Bare Naked Ladies), and many, many more. He has performed at venues from Key West to Canada. Whether on Delta-style bottleneck slide steel, 6 and 12-string acoustic, cigar box, diddly bow, or electric guitars, ukulele, and harmonica, his shows are guaranteed crowd pleasers.
Willie's roots are in the hills of northern lower Michigan, home to Amish communities and farmers who migrated to the city for jobs at the new horseless-carriage factories early in the 20th century. Willie's grandparents moved south and settled in Flint, Michigan.
He began playing guitar as a teenager and in the 1980's released one record with the punk rock band "Toll". In the 90's he had a commercial success as front man for the blues/rock show band "Cidy Zoo". Their "Something for Everyone" release, included the single "Talk Louder", the classical crossover instrumental "25 Strings", and the popular "Buick City Blues". All three received airplay. "Talk Louder" eventually charted at #15 on the AAA charts. After that success, the band went on hiatus for several years and Willie found other work as an artist and actor. Cidy Zoo eventually released a new single titled "Waitin' On You".
Then an accident left Willie's left hand paralyzed.
Though he never missed a performance date, Willie depended on a brace to hold his fingers in place on the guitar as he learned to play the piano and harmonica. After a long year as a one-handed musician his arm slowly began to mend and Willie was able to "relearn" how to handle the guitar. That year of uncertainty inspired Willie to "never take a moment of life or music for granted".
He decided to focus exclusively on recording and playing the blues.
In 2009, a chance meeting in the Key West airport with a musician/luthier who had two "cigar box" guitars led to Willie's discovery of a musical genre he'd never explored. It opened up the gates to the simple, hypnotic melodies of early American roots and blues music and it's primitive instruments.
He had found his musical muse.
To recreate the tradition of the original blues minstrels of early America, Willie began performing as a "one-man-band" in the style of his inspiration and fellow Flint resident the late "Dr. (Isaiah) Ross: The Harmonica Boss". Willie uses vintage instruments like the diddley-bow, cigar box guitar, and resonators while singing and accompanying himself on percussion and the Mississippi saxophone (harmonica).