Willy Porter Comes Back

the Heyde books one the Valley’s favorite folksters

Mark Koenig |

The roof, the roof, the roof is under Porter.
The roof, the roof, the roof is under Porter.

Willy Porter performances have been called “dazzling,” his recordings exhibit a “genre-defying maverick,” and he has been pinned a “master.” He is an accomplished finger-style acoustic guitar player who has toured with such diverse acts as Jeff Beck, Tori Amos, and Jethro Tull, performing his tuneful, rootsy vocals layered over his hearty melodies. A Wisconsin native, Porter began his career playing regular gigs in Madison and released his first recording (on cassette only) in 1988, followed by his self-produced album, The Trees Have Soul, in 1990. Since those early days, Porter has built a national fan-base by maintaining a consistent touring schedule coupled with the release of new material rooted in his folk upbringing and sprinkled with pop hooks. His most recent release, Willy Porter & Carpe Diem – Live at BoMA, is a live recording of Porter playing seven fan favorites along with the Carpe Diem String Quartet. Initially, the grouping of Porter with strings was to be a special one-time event with no plans to release an album. But what the audience heard that night was something immaculate -- an arrangement applicable to all ears. Porter’s current tour has him traversing across a good portion of the nation, acoustic guitars (Bischoff guitars, in fact, from local builder Gordy Bischoff) and his renowned quick wit in tow. Former tour mate Tori Amos said it best. “Willy plays rhythms that make me want to crawl inside his guitar and sleep there forever.” (Sigh). Goodnight.