Jason D. Williams: Entertainer

May 10, 2007 - By Diane Montz, Ironwood Globe Staff Writer

There's performers, and there's entertainers, and there's Jason D. Williams. His record company, his wife and fans put him in the entertainer category, Williams said in a telephone interview yesterday.

"What we do, it's an energy," he said. "You could see a hundred great, great musicians perform, say the song 'Great Balls of Fire' ... I turn that song, songs like that, into entertainment, into an energy."

Simply put, Williams describes his musical style as rockabilly. Other people, he said, describe him as "Vladimir Horowitz, the classical pianist, meets Jackson Pollock, the painter, meets Andy Warhol mixed in with Jerry Lee Lewis."

That description mixes abstract impressionist painting (Pollock) and the Pop Art movement (Warhol) with classical piano plus rock 'n' roll and country music (Lewis). It can only be explosive entertainment.

Williams began playing piano at age 3. At 18, he hit the road looking for gigs. He started in El Dorado, Texas, where a cousin he calls an incredible musician encouraged him.

"He told me that the keyboard was an empty canvas and that my fingers were the paint pigment and that I could do anything I wanted," Williams said. "I admired him so much that I believed it. From that moment on, I was able to do whatever I wanted, because I didn't know that you couldn't."

Williams travels with a three-man band. Bass player Mike Harber has played with Williams for 23 years; drummer Chris Sechler, 11 years; and guitarist Jimmy Davis since 2006. All have impressive musical credentials of their own.

On Williams' Web site, Sechler describes the experience: "It's all about blending the styles together -- on a moment's notice. "The Jason D. Williams show can play anything from the classic country of Hank Williams to the rockabilly style of Carl Perkins to the rock stylings of Jimi Hendrix. All done in the way only Jason can do it. "If everyone is lucky, we'll play some jazz."

Williams is based in Memphis, Tenn., and owns a 100-acre farm in Arkansas. He and his wife have a 12-day-old baby.

He has one CD out, "Don't Get None Onya," and another, with original material, in the works.

He travels with his own piano. "I don't know many people would let me use their piano," he said. "When you see the show, you'll understand. I can respect one, and, as they say in the music business, tear one up."

In addition to the piano, he promises, "I'm going to come bringing one fist of steel and the other iron. We're going to just really rock the people there."

Williams plays 180 shows a year across the country and abroad. He says it's exciting every time he walks on stage.

"It gets as exciting to me playing it as I think it does people watching it," he said. "I still just get very excited playing for people, whether there's two of 200,000. I play my little heart out for them and I love it."

Back to the "Take Note" Main Page