“Those who were there, including mimosa-drinking revelers rising from the boats, anchored by the festival grounds, were treated to a caffeinated jolt awake by the Michael Williams Band, a rocking Seattle blues quartet rooted in the music of Jimi Hendrix”. Kyle O’Brien – The Oregonian.
Music Industry critics and guitar enthusiasts alike often discuss, quite passionately, who could be the Next Great Blues Guitarist. Michael Williams is quickly gaining their recognition as “one to watch”. Blending a mastery of traditional blues, soulful songwriting, dynamic voice, blistering licks, and intense performance energy, Michael is bridging the fan-gap between the traditional blues lovers and his younger, rock ‘n roll-based audience.
The band celebrated the 2011 release of their CD, FIRE RED, with a much anticipated summer tour, opening for musical greats Buddy Guy, Jonny Lang, Eric Johnson, & Robert Cray and continued to perform with Buddy Guy throughout the fall.
Williams is one of the few guitarists of the new generation who draws his inspiration from an actual bloodline of Blues musicians. As a young boy, Michael grew up watching the performances of his father, Larry “Junior Medlow” Williams, considered a legend in the Texas Blues circuit for his performances throughout the 80‘s and 90’s. Michael embodies this past, blending it masterfully with his own soulful voice, commanding stage presence, and passionate guitar play. In early 2001, Michael moved to Seattle and soon formed the Michael Williams Band. He recorded and released his first full album in 2007. King of the Dead is a hard-hitting, Texas-blues album full of signature licks and rich tones in electric, slide and acoustic guitar.
Recording with Williams on FIRE RED as well as performing live on stage is a powerful trio of very accomplished musicians, all well recognized in their own right. They are Ryan Shea Smith on keyboard, Gerald “Tugboat” Turner II on bass, and Darin Watkins on drums. It is by no coincidence that they all are products of the Great Seattle Music Scene, which arguably could be one of the most influential cities for rock, jazz, R&B, and soul music by bringing us such talents as Jimi Hendrix and Quincy Jones. Each member of the supporting band brings a diverse background of influences to compliment Michael: Ryan Shea Smith, keyboards, brings over 30 years of classical, jazz, gospel, blues and R&B influences to the keys and background vocals. In addition, Ryan is an integral part of the creative process and songwriting team, and was a John Lennon Songwriting Award winner for his critically acclaimed jazz album “Stay Awhile”. Gerald “Tugboat” Turner is a very talented live and professional studio bassist/ background vocalist who brings with him funk, soul, blues, Motown, and gospel influences. Darin adds showmanship to his deftly smooth, yet hard-hitting style to the drums that is rooted in classic rock n’ roll, jazz and the blues.
The album was produced by the multi Grammy-award winning producer and engineer, Eddie Kramer, who is renowned for his lifelong work with Jimi Hendrix, Led Zeppelin, KISS, The Rolling Stones, and Buddy Guy, as well as countless other Grammy-award winning blues and music legends. Eddie was also one of the founders of Electric Lady Studios in NY.