From the coast of sunny San Diego (Poway), California, Willie Ames is a guitarist/banjoist/singer/songwriter performing acoustic folk/rock music. He first learned to play the guitar at the age of 5 with simple lessons from his father who taught him how to form the basic chords A through G. From then on, playing guitar was a constant, as he self-taught himself by ear.
At the age of 18, Willie became deeply inspired by the music of Mark Knopfler of Dire Straits and Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac. While attending college, studying Mechanical Engineering, he decided that embarking on a rock and roll music career had to be done. Willie has written and continues to write his own original material that has listeners comparing his sound to his influences and other well known musicians. He does not use a pick and, rather, uses the bare skin of his finger tips to finger pick. This allows for a more versatile sound and reveals more taste in his guitar playing technique. He also uses a bare hand strumming/slap technique from time to time. Willie’s finger work can be heard in almost every music line he writes.
For years now, Willie has been performing showcases at music venues, festivals, party functions, corporate gigs, and weddings with his original music all across the United States (all 50 States covered to date) which has all lead him to become a 4 time award winner. He’s in pursuit of touring internationally with his live performance. Willie manages to distribute his original CD to everyone in attendance at every show.
His current album Night Owl features 10 original tracks (with both his solo work and collaborations with other musicians) and a cover of Lindsey Buckingham’s “Never Going Back Again”. So far, Willie has distributed approximately 35,000 CDs to the public, from his hands to the people across all 50 States, and he won’t be stopping anytime soon. His music is also available for digital download everywhere online, iTunes, and in physical CD form.
Willie Ames is one of those singer/songwriter/musicians who plays with finesse and great energy. His songs are almost like musical tapestries (with a hefty amount of grit thrown in to roughen things up a bit).
Many of his songs also have that distinctive arpeggio or as some call it “speed picking” element to them. Between the vocal effects and that type of guitar sound, you often come away with what is better known as “mood music.”
There is a huge variety of songs here, from acoustic guitar to banjo driven tunes, from rocking through pure pop to folksy, and back. Some are introspective, others outright social statements. What’s amazing though, is that all these different tracks somehow fit together really nicely.
Lots of great guitar of course, from sweet and furious fingerpicking on “Walk In The Park,” “Neanderthal” or “Feelings,” to the banjo drivers, “Human Race,” “Black Widow,” “Stumbling Home” and “Dance With You” amongst others.
The Fleetwood Mac influence is unmistakable on the opening track, “Human Race,” which has strong traces of Lindsey Buckingham’s composition “Big Love.” Another highlight, and probably the most commercial sounding track on the album, is “Night Owl.”
Yet even when it’s not an original song, Ames’ unique style and perspective can still make it sound like his own. Listen to how he courageously puts his back to the wheel on Lindsey Buckingham’s “Never Going Back Again.”
I’d suggest that to get the most from this album, make sure you first listen to it, at a time and somewhere, you can give it full attention. Lower the lights. Sit back. Leave some foot tapping room. Hit play. Prepare to be enchanted.
This is what music is about. Real playing, real vocals, real music. Everything reverberates through you by virtue of the playing, wraps you with the beguiling vocals and moves you like only true music can. Willie Ames’ guitar and banjo playing, and how he interweaves it into his songs, will leave you wanting more.
Download it, buy it and you will listen over and over again. Highly recommended.