This is Jack Williams' first visit to Java Jax, to perform this coming Saturday evening show on the Jan. 29. After a conversation with Williams and discussing his talents in music from even when he was a small child, I can only imagine how great the show will be. When speaking to Williams it didn't take long to start up a conversation about subject material that we could both relate to. Simply put — even the differences in music and it's listeners — from popular musicians out there on larger music labels, to the more laid back storyteller, songwriter musicians who enjoy performing on stage, can bring people together.
Below is a little bit of our conversation we had a few days before his arrival to Sweetwater.
Smith: When did you really start playing music and enjoy playing to an audience?
Williams: At the age of four I first started with an interest in playing the ukulele, after that I moved on to playing the piano at the age of six. I then moved on to playing the trumpet and guitar. When I was 15, in 1958 I began performing in front of audiences with the trumpet and guitar. Playing some jazz (trumpet) and classical guitar. Ever since, I've been doing mostly singing and playing with my gut-string guitar for audiences everywhere.
Smith: Which do you prefer, creating an album in the studio or doing live performances?
Williams: I enjoy them both for different reasons. Working in a studio gives me time to sit down and get it out on a CD so my listeners can have something in hand, as well as something to pass along to others. I do enjoy the response I get out of an audience though, I'm able to explain each song with a story or how I came about writing that specific song.
Smith: I noticed you do workshops for other musicians and songwriters in your local area, as well as other locations?
Williams: I really enjoy doing workshops. My wife and I do hold some workshops on the weekends where we live. It's a lot of fun teaching. I usually always have a great crowd of guitar pickers and songwriters who get together. It's wonderful when we work as a group that can match up the music with the song writing and come up with some interesting pieces. It can be exhausting, but it's a lot of fun and there is always something new and different.
Smith: Do you have a specific classification for your music? I noticed you play with the feel of many different styles. Some musicians with your same type of style, classify their music as Americana or Folk Art.
Williams: I really don't have a specific classification of the music I create and play. It's mostly just what I do as a performer. I'm an acoustic, singer, songwriter, storyteller. Some have said I sound a little folk, Americana, or even a little blues. It seems most music is really just put in a classification, that is how you are located in a category of sort in a music store or in a search for that specific artist online.
Smith: I noticed you are on the recording label Wind River when I was a buyer for independent labels many years ago in the music business. Wind River label was usually for musicians who were more contemporary, acoustic and some jazz or folk, such as Kim and Reggie Harris, Hunter Moore or David Roth.
Williams: Yes, they are more of a folk era label. I've been with them for over 15 years. It's not all about a larger label and making the money, it's about getting the music out there to the people.
Smith: How long do you think you will continue performing in front of a live audience with your music?
Williams: I am 67 years old, and look forward to playing for at least another 20 years. It can be done.
Smith: Earlier you mentioned your wife helps you with work shops. Does she also travel with you on your venues?
Williams: Yes, her name is Judy Smith she enjoys traveling with me to my venues. She has her PhD and left the corporate world to go with me on the road. She does a lot of the extras for me, like keeping my website updated, as well as keeping me on a schedule. We are a good team. Ever since 2006 she has been with me on the road.
Smith: Where do you and your wife actually call home?
Williams: Our actual home is in Northwest Arkansas, when we get to actually go home. I do travel a lot for my venues. I've been to all 48 states, as well as eight countries. We are headed to Amarillo the day after Sweetwater's show.
For more information about Williams and his music you may visit his website, www.jackwilliamsmusic.com .
Like always, it sounds like Java Jax is bringing in yet another gifted and talented musician.
For more information about show times and dinner reservations contact, Java Jax 325.933.4382 Located at: 325 Oak Street in Sweetwater.