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Global Sounds on the Hill: Feat. GRAMMY-Nominated Bluesman Jontavious Willis
Thursday, February 16 @ 7:00 pm - 9:00 pm$22.00
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Curated and hosted by iconic DC impressario and musician Jim Thomson.
Every generation or so, a young bluesman bursts onto the scene and sends a jolt through the blues community like Jontavious Willis. Many fans of Willis regard him as an old soul. His style of playing the instruments and his voice touches the very roots of country blues. He brings back the true soul of the music. A newspaper headline once called him a “70-year-old bluesman in a 20-year-old body.” The 24-year-old multi-instrumentalist was nominated for a GRAMMY in 2020 for his latest album, Spectacular Class.
For in-person attendance, we require all attendees to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
“Meet Jontavious Willis…Only a few like him emerge every decade or so, when even the most hard core blues fans realize immediately that this is the real deal, a player and singer whose got it all: Deep roots feeling, instrumental prowess and a voice that carries the heart and soul of the blues with unwavering connection to the ancient roots … Jontavious Willis deserves to be celebrated as one of the brilliant new voices.” – Frank Matheis, Living Blues Magazine
“Jontavious Willis. That’s my Wonderboy, the Wunderkind. He’s a great new voice of the 21st Century in the acoustic blues. I just love the way he plays.“ – Taj Mahal
Hailing from Greenville, Georgia, Willis grew up singing gospel music at the Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church with his grandfather. Since an early age, he had the talent and passion for the music and the ability to sharpen his skills fast. At the age of 14, he came across a YouTube video of Muddy Waters playing “Hoochie Coochie Man” and was instantly hooked on the blues.
He got his much-needed break from living legend Taj Mahal. In 2015, Mahal asked Willis to play on stage with him. That appearance resulted in a roaring response from the audience and led Willis to bigger stages and broader opportunities, including an opening slot at select shows along the TajMo tour, featuring his musical mentors Taj Mahal and Keb’ Mo’.
About Jim Thomson: Jim Thomson owns and operates the Washington, DC-based boutique record label Electric Cowbell Records. He currently runs Multiflora Productions out of Washington, DC, an independent live music production agency that specializes in expanding the reach of eclectic traditional and non-traditional artists by creating a time and space where their work is presented in an environment where audiences and artists alike have a meaningful and significant experience together. In 2014 he became the music coordinator for the Capital Fringe Festival and also programmed the “Fringe Music in the Library ” series, which offered free live music in the DC Public Libraries through a sponsorship from the DC Public Library Foundation. He has booked several US tours for acclaimed artists such as Sahel Sounds recording artists Mdou Moctar and Les Filles de Illighadad, along with Zedashe from the Republic of Georgia, BCUC from South Africa, and several others. He is a founding member and played drums in: GWAR, Alter-Natives (SST Records), Bio Ritmo, and CSC Funk Band. He currently plays drums in the DC-based punk rock band, Time Is Fire. Jim is currently producing a series of releases for the acclaimed indie salsa orchestra Bio Ritmo’s 30-year anniversary and booking the US debut tour for Sublime Frequencies recording artist Baba Commandant from Burkina Faso.