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Will Kimbrough

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You wouldn't know it to look at him, but Will Kimbrough's been on the road singing his songs for 25 years now, well over half his life. He started young and he's stayed that way. He's one of the hardest working men in show-business (and we'll get to some of the many hats he wears) but first and foremost he's a songwriter, gifted with turns of phrase that should be on T-shirts, and melodies that can evoke dusty Americana with traces of deep and catchy melody that keeps things spare but not numbing. Just recently, he's played his songs alongside Rodney Crowell, Lyle Lovett, Guy Clark, Joe Ely, Todd Snider and many others. Jimmy Buffett recorded Will's "Piece of Work" and has made it a staple of his live shows. Jack Ingram recorded "Goodnight Moon", Little Feat has recorded "Champion of the World" and the list goes on. Will's new record, his fourth as a solo artist, "Americanitis", is a politically-charged broadside to the madness of our post-9/11 world, and his most accomplished work yet. Now that we've established the most important aspect of Will Kimbrough - as an artist of world-class talent - let's touch on some of his other hats, firstly an aspect of Will that everyone notices at live shows, a mixed blessing which has frankly gotten in the way and obscured who he really is. Will is one of the finest guitarists and singers alive. His six-string prowess is legendary. He's capable of calling up unholy bombast or sweet-toned delicacy at the drop of a hat. He plays leads that tell stories and leave packed houses whooping and hollering their approval. His voice is also a thing of wonder, with a range from ethereal falsetto to full barrel-chested wails that blow your hair back. His amazing technical abilities as a guitarist and vocalist inspired one fan to start a line of T-shirts that say "Will Kimbrough is an Alien." And in 2004 he was awarded the Americana Music Association Instrumentalist of the Year award. But Will's too smart, and too talented as a songwriter, to cruise on mere technical ability. "Americanitis", while packed with wonderful playing, is not a hot-shot guitar showcase. That's not what Will's about. His amazing chops have made him popular in Nashville studios and on the road with other artists, giving him gigs that pay better than solo shows, but chops are just that, chops, and nothing more without a good song to hang them on. That's where Will Kimbrough, in the end, shines the most, as a craftsman of beautifully knitted melodies and words that grow deeper and better with each listening. Speaking of smart, Will is very smart, and walking encyclopedia of American music and recording studio technique. This has given him another hat to wear, as an in-demand producer. He's recently produced records for Todd Snider (including Todd's breakthrough comeback "East Nashville Skyline"), Adrienne Young and Kate Campbell. A native of Mobile, Alabama and a Nashville resident for the last 20 years, Will first came to national prominence as leader of Will& the Bushmen, who burned away many miles in the eighties. In the early nineties, he was a member of the legendary bis-quits, who made one classic record that still gets talked about. Recently, he started the band Daddy with longtime friend and collaborator Tommy Womack, and in 2005 they released the well-received "Daddy At the Women's Club". Will, when he's home - which is rare - lives in Nashville with his wife Jessica and two daughters, Emma and Sadie. His new record, "Americanitis" hits the streets on July 25th, 2006.
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