The Boston Globe calls Milwaukee-based Willy Porter “an acoustic picker with the Olympian speed of Leo Kottke, bolstered by rootsy vocals and twisting, offbeat lyrics.” Roy Kasten, in Riverfront Times, praises Carmen Nickerson’s work with Willy as “dusty, bluesy phrasing [offering] a warm counterpoint to Porter’s charred baritone and unpredictable guitar excursions.” Together, they create a musical dialogue, delivering a story needing to be seen and heard.
A largely self-taught musician, Porter began treating audiences to his brand of guitar playing and wry storytelling in the late 80s while living in Madison. His live shows are guitar-driven grit, soul, silence, and muscle—at times electrifying, dynamic, and unique in the way that Porter’s voice blends and fuses with his fret work. Porter has opened for, among others, Paul Simon, Sting, and Tori Amos.
Nickerson is an accomplished Jazz, R&B, and Rock vocalist from the Midwest who has also contributed her talents to studio and voice-over work in L.A.
In 2013, Porter and Nickerson combined to record the album Cheeseburgers and Gasoline. They got blues legend Al Kooper to produce it; Kooper indicates that what drew him to the project was appreciating Porter as “an amazing guitar player, singer, and songwriter,” and hearing Nickerson deliver spot-on harmonies.
After touring extensively together for more than two years, Porter and Nickerson released a full-length disc of original co-writes: Bonfire to Ash (2016).
Porter’s annual benefit concerts have raised more than $100,000 for Advocates of Ozaukee, a shelter and treatment facility for victims of domestic violence and abuse in Mequon, Wisconsin.
If you’ve seen Willy Porter before, you’re already convinced to see him. If not, GRFF’s Porter and Nickerson performances will initiate you.
Sat. 1:15 PM - 2:45 PM Site A
Sat. 3:15 PM - 4:45 PM Site A
Saturday Night Concert
Visit Willy Porter at willyporter.com/