Stemming all the way from San Diego, California, is a folk artist unlike many others. Willie Ames blends his own unique folk sound with those that are more recognisable and make you nostalgic for the past. He takes his inspiration from 60 and 70s popular rock/folk artists like Lindsey Buckingham (Fleetwood Mac), Tom Petty and Bob Dylan among others.
Willie Ames has just re-released his debut album, Night Owl, for his independent US tour. You can listen to the title track here.
Night Owl is a track filled with deep, croaky vocals reminiscent of Bob Dylan mixed with a more modern folk sound. Ames plays the guitar and banjo but instead of playing these in traditional ways, he aims to create new sounds with them. He never uses a plectrum to play the guitar and prefers finger picking – the sound of which can be heard distinctly in Night Owl.
Ames manages to make his music feel raw. It sounds pure. There’s no touch ups to his vocals or instruments. This allows the whole album to breath and to gain its momentum. Willie Ames has been known to sing and play his instruments simultaneously when recording adding that great live element in his music.
A few other favourites on the record have to be the instrumental tracks Black Widow, which has some superb banjo playing on it, and Walk In The Park. Although Black Widow is repetitive, it succeeds in not becoming boring due to such talent. Walk In The Park has a similar sound to Paul Simon’s guitar playing on the Simon and Garfunkel album, Bookends. It’s a great relaxing track. Having purely instrumental tracks allows Ames to showcase his fantastic talent in melodies, rhythm and timing.
Dance With You is reminiscent to the sound of John Martyn particularly the beginning riff. This is a sound which is sorely missed in the music industry. Although no-one can quite replace what John Martyn achieved, it’s comforting to know he is still influencing the folk artists of today.
The single Night Owl has landed Ames a nomination for the Hot AC Single of the Year in the 22nd Los Angeles Music Awards (LAMAs) 2012. He’s also won the latest award for Instrumental Artist of the Year in the 21st LAMAs 2011, Best Male Performer in the eWorld Music Awards 2011 at SIR Studios in Hollywood and the National Solo Artist of the Year and Performer in the Phoenix Music Awards 2011 with recognition of his touring of all 50 States.
Night Owl is a 10 track album including a cover of Lindsey Buckingham’s Never Going Back Again.
Willie Ames is definitely a folk artist to look out for in the future. The album Night Owl is available to buy online in physical form or digitial download and on iTunes. For more information on tour dates, visit willieames.com.