Lefty Williams Band - Snake Oil
3 songs; 63:45 minutes; Suggested
Styles: Southern Rock and bluesy jazz.
Jason Williams is more than just a unique one-handed guitar player, he’s a great guitar player.
Adaptation is the story of human life on planet Earth. History tells many a tale of humans “getting used to” just about everything imaginable and unimaginable. Bringing particular joy are the stories of humans adapting to obstacles to overcome and conquer.
When Jason “Lefty” Williams decided he unequivocally wanted to play guitar, after trial and error, he devised a way to do it. Jason was born with just one hand, the left in “Lefty.” His right arm ends just below the elbow. By attaching a strap mounted with a guitar pick to his “nubb,” he can pick a guitar like Johnny B. Goode.
The ideal way to experience his music is to hear it first before knowing anything about Jason. Then, by the time one discovers the origin of his nickname, it is a musical non-issue because he is that good.
A resident of the Atlanta GA area, Jason is a more than competent guitarist with over two decades of experience. He started when he was four years old, and he played in a band by eleven.
Musically, like any kid, Jason was into all types of rock before arriving at a more bluesy, jazzy approach. His style clearly has the influence of all the Southern rockers that have come before him. There are also nods to Jimi Hendrix, Albert King, Aquarium Rescue Unit, Miles Davis, Stevie Ray Vaughan and early Led Zeppelin.
Jason also has an entertaining live show with the Lefty Williams Band, which quickly became a big draw at local and regional clubs in Atlanta, North Carolina, and Florida. The LWB has also opened for the likes of Gov’t Mule, Little Feat, Jimbo Mathus, Col. Bruce and the Quark Alliance, and the Chris Duarte Group.
“Snake Oil” is Williams’ second release following 2006’s well received “Big Plans” and subsequent 18 month supporting tour. Again teaming with John Keane to produce the album,
Lefty reaches deep into personal experience to write all of the songs on “Snake Oil.”
Pop the CD into your player, and the first thing one hears on the opener, “Thank You” is a catchy guitar hook that says, “Yep, we are in for a good time now!” Ten seconds later, the guitar is joined by bouncing piano from Jimmy Landry, drums by Steve Saunders, and Ray Dombrowski on bass. According to his website bio, Lefty’s divorce fuels the song in which he acknowledges the silver lining, and “thanks” his ex for kicking him out.
That song ends, and one second later “What I Believe” kicks off with another upbeat Southern Rock riff soon joined by more driving piano. 40 seconds later, Jason harmonizes with band mates in a rousing, “Yeah – yow, yow...it will all turn out, that’s what I believe.”
“On the Prowl” features blues luminary and fellow Atlanta resident Tinsley Ellis guesting on guitar. Here the bass line opens the song soon followed by guitar picking the same hook. Jazzy electric piano helps give this number its different feel, sort of like what Stevie Ray Vaughan used to do on numbers like “Lenny” and “Riviera Paradise.” Jason and Tinsley each take incredibly tasty mid song guitar solos. “Hey Mama,” with its bouncing rhythms, is the other number featuring Ellis.
The title track is replete with deep groove, power guitar and heart felt vocals. The song refers to two-faced industry types, specifically “a guy who promised me the world and then kinda hosed me,” reports Jason.
For some soaring slide guitar, there’s the slow, gospel-tinged “In the Valley,” Todd Smallie (The Derek Trucks Band) plays bass on “Why Didn’t You Call,” and “A Little Bit of Faith” is written for “my current wife. It’s just a promise to her that I’m not gonna goof around on her,” Lefty revealed.
If you ever dug the Southern Rock scene, Lefty is the next logical step in the progression. Watch for Lefty on tour in support of “Snake Oil.” He loves to play live which can be observed in website and Youtube videos. “Let’s just make some cool music,” he says. “That’s all I’ve ever really cared about.”
Reviewer James “Skyy Dobro” Walker is a noted Blues writer, DJ and Blues Blast contributor. His weekly radio show “Friends of the Blues” can be heard each Thursday from 4:30 – 6:00pm on WKCC 91.1 FM in Kankakee, IL