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S.E. Willis and the Willing

Piedmont Piano Company is pleased to present


S.E. Willis and the Willing
CD Release Party

Come and join S.E. Willis, Bobby Cochran, Ruth Davies, and Nancy Wright, as they celebrate the release of S.E. Willis and the Willing’s newest album, Too Much Love. They only have a few local performance dates this summer, so don’t miss this opportunity to hear this great band!

$20 General Admission

Line notes:

It was 2015 and we were standing on the stage at the Blues Foundation’s Awards show in Memphis, named as Band of the Year for our work with Elvin Bishop.  When my turn came to speak all I could think was: “I love this band!” We aren’t the Elvin Bishop Band anymore, but we still love making music together.

There’s a lot of experience here.  I’ve been a working musician for 50 years now, much of that time spent in bars in the Southwest, playing rock and roll, country and blues for the local folks.  Bobby Cochran’s been at it longer than me, starting in marching bands, drum-line, and the Army band during the Vietnam years.  It was the army that brought him from South Carolina to Oakland, CA to join Bobby Freeman backing Carol Doda, the original topless dancer, then the Edwin Hawkins Singers, Cold Blood, Tom Fogerty and many more.  Ruth Davies is an Oakland native, born and raised, and an integral part of the Bay Area jazz scene since high school.  She was in Charles Brown’s great band through the 80’s and has since worked with John Lee Hooker, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, and too many others to name here.

That’s the core of the band.  I’d love to tell you about the other great musicians here, but this is a small page.  Look them up—it’ll be worth it!

I wrote all the songs here, with some help from Bobby and our friend Takezo Takeda.  Some of the songs are a bit older, from an attempt to write a Honky Tonk musical set in Flagstaff, AZ (Tracks 2, 9,10, 11). The rest, beginning with Crawl Off and Die, are new, and are my attempt to deal with, mostly, love and death.  It’s not beer and big-legged women, but it’s got a beat and you can dance to it. Too Much Love.  As if there can ever be too much.

Steve Willis, May 8, 2019

S.E.Willis plays piano, accordion and harmonica and is the principle songwriter for the band. He's released 6 CDs of classic and original material and is a member of the Arizona Blues Hall of Fame. Together with Cochran and Davies they form one half of the Blues Foundation's 2015 Blues Band of the Year, the Elvin Bishop Band.

Bobby Cochran has had a long and important career in music, beginning in the Bay Area with a stint in the Army Band that brought him here. He subsequently played with Bobby Freeman, Carol Doda, Edwin Hawkins, Cold Blood, Tom Fogerty's Ruby and, of course, Elvin Bishop.

Ruth Davies, certainly one of the finest upright bassists around, is a legend in blues circles for her ten years with Charles Brown's late-life band. She has performed and recorded with John Lee Hooker, Maria Muldaur, Sammy Hagar, Elvis Costello, Nick Lowe, Norton Buffalo, Barbara Dane and many others. She was recently a key member of Pamela Rose's successful staging of "Blues Is a Woman" in San Francisco.

Nancy Wright is everybody's favorite tenor saxophonist. She is a band leader in her own right and has released two CDs under her name, including last year's "Playdate" that won her a BMA nomination as instrumentalist of the year. She has performed and recorded with guitar legend Lonnie Mack, the Bey-Paule Soul Orchestra and many others. She just started a new career as a vocalist in the last few years and has won strong acclaim for her work.

Earlier Event: August 11
Dena DeRose Trio
Later Event: August 24
Dick Whittington Trio