Sound Advice: Will Kimbrough

Saturday • Southgate House Revival

click to enlarge Will Kimbrough
Will Kimbrough

If there’s one phrase that Will Kimbrough’s family and friends don’t use in conversation with the renowned Roots/Rock singer/songwriter, it would have to be, “When you have some spare time…”

The concept of unused hours in a day has to be fairly foreign to Kimbrough, who generally maintains a schedule that would exhaust three burly roadies. Kimbrough’s docket is routinely packed with studio session work, touring gigs and production projects (for the likes of Jimmy Buffett, Todd Snider, Rodney Crowell, Steve Earle, Guy Clark and a host of other luminaries), as well as his various band/solo activities, the latter of which now includes Daddy, his group with fellow singer/songwriter Tommy Womack, and the minor supergroup Willie Sugarcapps, which also features singer/songwriter Grayson Capps and the members of the Folk duo Sugarcane Jane.

The Alabama native honed his chops on the Southern club circuit after high school, then relocated to Nashville with his first band, Will and the Bushmen, where they scored a major label deal, ultimately recording three albums. After the group’s dissolution, Kimbrough and Womack formed The Bis-quits, which recorded its debut for John Prine’s OhBoy label in 1993 (and a reunion album seven years later).

Kimbrough sessioned and produced for half a dozen years before embarking on his solo career with the cheekily titled Fireworks Vol. 2 in 1999. Since then, Kimbrough has recorded seven acclaimed releases (including 2010’s patently excellent Wings and last year’s brilliant and poignant Sideshow Love ) and done two Daddy albums and one Willie Sugarcapps full-length. He’s also become Jimmy Buffett’s studio and stage lieutenant, writing, producing and performing on his last four albums and subsequent tours. Kimbrough, who has collaborated with the likes of Rosanne Cash, Mark Knopfler, Emmylou Harris, The Jayhawks, John Prine and Mavis Staples, was named the Americana Music Association’s Instrumentalist of the Year in 2004. It’s a safe bet that if Will Kimbrough doesn’t know how to do it, you don’t need to hear it… and he doesn’t have time to learn how anyway.

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