All about Sweet Willie Tea! (click here for Cidy Zoo)
Authentic American music with a bona fide, genuine, one-of-a-kind, one-man-band!
shared the stage with acts as diverse as Styx, Ten Years After, Canned Heat,
Roger Miller, Rev. Peyton’s Big Damn Band, Larry McCray, Steven Page (Bare Naked
Ladies), and many, many more. He has performed at venues from Key West to
Canada. Whether on Delta-style bottleneck slide steel, 6 and 12-string acoustic,
cigar box, diddly bow, or electric guitars, ukulele, harmonica, or keyboards,
either solo as a “one-man-band” or as "Sweet Willie and the Tea Bones", his
shows are guaranteed crowd pleasers.
I've won the Detroit
Blues Society Blues Challenge TWICE!
I won the Canada
South Blues Challenge!
Mr. Diddley Bow
Willie's roots are in the hills of northern lower Michigan, home to Amish communities and farmers who migrated to the city for jobs at the new horseless-carriage factories early in the 20th century. Willie's grandparents moved south and settled in Flint, Michigan.
Then an accident left Willie's left
He decided to focus exclusively on recording and playing the blues.
In 2009, a chance meeting in the Key West airport with a musician/luthier who had two "cigar box" guitars led to Willie's discovery of a musical genre he'd never explored. It opened up the gates to the simple, hypnotic melodies of early American roots and blues music and it's primitive instruments.
He had found his musical muse.
To recreate the tradition of the original blues minstrels of early America, Willie began performing as a "one-man-band" in the style of his inspiration and fellow Flint resident the late "Dr. (Isaiah) Ross: The Harmonica Boss". Willie uses vintage instruments like the diddley-bow, cigar box guitar, and resonators while singing and accompanying himself on percussion and the Mississippi saxophone (harmonica).
While he still performs with "The Tea Bones", Sweet Willie can most often be found performing traditional blues and original songs as a "one-man-band". Willie's shows feature historical facts about the instruments including turn-of-the-century cigar box guitars, dobros, diddley bows, a variety of other acoustic guitars, plus harmonica and, of course, his unique self-accompanying percussion.
In Schools Supporting Educational Outreach
Willie can also perform an "educational" blues review show featuring selections
performed in chronological order and accompanied with facts and trivia about the
artists and their material. It begins with pieces performed on vintage
instruments starting with the earliest recordings of Robert Johnson and Jimmie
Rodgers, classics by Sonny Boy Williamson, Rufus Thomas, and Tin Pan singers like
Fats Waller. The show moves on to the transitional Chicago Blues of Muddy Waters
and Albert King, country blues from the likes of Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson,
continuing through the Memphis sounds of B.B. King, Clarence "Gatemouth" Brown,
and ending with the blues derivative sounds of artists like Stevie Ray Vaughan
and contemporary Detroit style blues artists such as Larry McCray, with Willie's
own style and material poured into the mix.
about booking Sweet Willie Tea or the Tea Bones, please call: