Will Kimbrough: From “Sideshow Love” to Willie Sugarcapps – It’s Abundantly Clear, He Loves What He’s Doing

Will Kimbrough Article

During the 1980’s while living in New York City, amid the heyday of the MTV Generation, I first heard of the band, Will and the Bushmen. Looking back they are especially memorable for me, foremost, in that they hailed from the Gulf Coast; secondly, that they had a distinct sound similar to some of my favorite Southern college-rock bands from places like Chapel Hill, NC and Athens, GA. Being a huge fan of what Mitch Easter and his band, Let’s Active, had done earlier in the decade, I was quite impressed with the similarities of Will and the Bushmen.

Will KimbroughWill Kimbrough at Scranton’s in Pascagoula, MS (Photo by Stephen Anderson)

In those days, because I was following an extensive amount of music, my attention was constantly being directed to one band after another, and sadly sidetracked. However, years later, the name Will and the Bushmen presented itself once again. When you follow music closely, you often hear certain names pop up on a regular basis. One such name is Will Kimbrough. It quickly dawned on me, that Will Kimbrough was the “Will” of Will and The Bushmen, so I enthusiastically took notice.

Will KimbroughWill Kimbrough at Scranton’s in Pascagoula, MS (Photo by Stephen Anderson)

Kimbrough isn’t just another 80’s musician hanging around living off a few songs from a bygone era. In this article I want to share with readers, just how busy an accomplished Kimbrough continues to be, maintaining the highest level of productivity and talent in the decades after Will and the Bushmen.

When deciding to write about Will Kimbrough, I wanted it to be about ‘his passion for music’ and to demonstrate respect to someone who has garnered it from the music industry for a wide range of reasons.

Following his early tenure with Will and the Bushmen, Kimbrough never seemed to slow down. He has been a part of one music project after another. Kimbrough has worked with an impressive list of artists which included session work, producing, writing songs, performing and still having time to record his own music.

Will KimbroughWill Kimbrough (Photos by The Southland Music Line)

WILL KIMBROUGH IS AN ALIEN

To fully understand how admired and revered he is by others, all one needs to do is bring his name up in certain circles. A trip to Nashville (where Kimbrough presently lives with his family) can present this opportunity. I’ve mentioned his name to an array of musicians, writers, industry folks and fans, and the same admiration is always spoken. Occasionally, you’ll see a T-Shirt bearing the words, “Will Kimbrough Is An Alien”. This fan-produced T-shirt was made to help explain Will’s expertise, mastery, and ‘out of this world’ skill on the six-string.

Will Kimbrough seems to seize every quality musical opportunity that comes his way. Consequently, over time some of music’s most acclaimed artists began to recognize the talent this man possesses. In the early 90’s, Kimbrough joined longtime friend, Tommy Meyer to form the Bis-quits, which led to a recording deal with John Prine’s Oh Boy Records label.

While in Nashville, this native of Mobile, AL. began to stir up quite a presense as a ‘go-to’ sideman and session guy. His skills as a songwriter, musician and producer have kept him in demand.

Will KimbroughWill Kimbrough at Scranton’s in Pascagoula, MS (Photo by Stephen Anderson)

He has written songs, performed alongside and recorded with the likes of Rodney Crowell, Emmylou Harris, Todd Snider, Steve Forbert, Little Feat, Jack Ingram, Rosanne Cash, Guy Clark, Steve Earle, The Jayhawks, Mark Knopfler, Buddy Miller, John Prine, Hayes Carll, Kim Richey, Billy Joe Shaver, Mavis Staples, Adrienne Young and more.

Recently, Kimbrough co-produced “The Waiting Place” by the incredibly talented, Sara Jean Kelley. His penned song “Trains” appears on her six song EP, as well. (Kimbrough and Kelley co-wrote Willie Sugarcapps’ “Oh, Colorado”).

Will KimbroughWill Kimbrough at Magnolia Springs Seafood Festival (Photo by Stephen Anderson)

Will Kimbrough songs are featured on several of Jimmy Buffett’s most recent studio albums including “Piece of Work” (from “License to Chill”); “Party at the End of the World” (from “Take the Weather with You”); “Nobody from Nowhere” and “Wings” (from “Buffett Hotel”) and “I Want To Go Back To Cartagena” and “Soulfully” (from “Songs from St. Somewhere”.) All written or co-written by Kimbrough, its safe to say, Buffett likes Kimbrough’s amazing songwriting ability.

The same year as Buffett’s “License to Chill” album, Will Kimbrough received an award as 2004’s Instrumentalist of the Year by the Americana Music Association. The following year, along with Tommy Womack, John Deaderick, Paul Griffith and Dave Jacques, Kimbrough helped form the band, Daddy.

Will KimbroughWill Kimbrough at The Mary C. O’Keefe Cultural Center (Photo by Stephen Anderson)

One can’t help but be impressed with Will’s superior ability as a musician. Each time, I have the privilege of seeing him perform, it’s jaw dropping. You look to your left and then to the right, all in attendance have the same ‘I can’t believe how great this guy is” expression on their faces.

I put Will Kimbrough, the songwriter, as one of the best, tackling subjects and social issues like war, greed, work, career and family. Fellow artist who also has no problem addressing certain issues, Todd Snider, not only has worked with Kimbrough, but the songs “Another Train” and “I Don’t Have a Gun” written or co-written by Will Kimbrough, appear on Snider’s album with Hard Working Americans. (*A band The Line recently had the privilege seeing in Birmingham, AL)

SIDESHOW LOVE

Will Kimbrough's Sideshow Love“Sideshow Love” – The most recent album from Will Kimbrough (Read further for links to where to purchase his music)

His first solo album since 2010, “Wings” was long overdue. One of the best crafted albums of the year, the heartfelt songs combine a mixture of topics that make an album one you can enjoy over and over. When I first listened to “Sideshow Love”, it was played, repeatedly, for a few days. From the cover art to the songs of emotion, pain, humor and hope, it all fits perfectly. My hope is that Will Kimbrough will find time to do more such solo projects.

A few highlights from “Sideshow Love” are “Let the Big World Spin”, “Soulfully”, “I Want Too Much” and the title track, “Sideshow Love”

WILLIE SUGARCAPPS

Willie Sugarcapps at Magnolia Springs, ALWillie Sugarcapps at Magnolia Springs, AL (Corky Hughes, Grayson Capps, Will Kimbrough, Savana Lee Crawford and Anthony Crawford) Photo by Stephen Anderson

Rooted from the Frog Pond at Blue Moon Farm, 2013 saw Kimbrough join the talents of Grayson Capps, Corky Hughes and Anthony & Savana Lee Crawford (aka Sugarcane Jane), releasing their self-titled debut album. The supergroup’s Muscle Shoals recorded EP “Magnolia Springs” followed. This ensemble truly has become an important part of the lives of many fans. The Independent Music Awards awarded the debut album as Americana Album of the Year. WILLIE SUGARCAPPS IS A MUST-SEE LIVE SHOW! The Southland Music Line has seen a countless number of shows by Willie Sugarcapps and its incredible lineup.

Willie Sugarcapps Poster at Eddie's AtticPhoto taken of the Willie Sugarcapps poster on the wall at Eddie’s Attic in Decatur, GA. (Photo by The Southland Music Line)

WILL GOES TO THE BIRTHPLACE HOME OF JIMMY BUFFET

Pascagoula, MS is the birthplace home of Jimmy Buffett. On Friday, Aug. 15, 2014, Will Kimbrough scheduled a show in the historic Pascagoula downtown district at Scranton’s. We here at “The Line” were spread thin as there were several good shows Coast wide that same night. Fortunately, we found our way back to Scranton’s for the Kimbrough show. Thankfully, I had the opportunity to see a really entertaining opening by local favorite, Truitt Williams who was accompanied by Sara Smith on a series of songs. Kimbrough’s show was as they all are – Phenomenal! (recently seen in Bay St. Louis, MS too). Those in attendance were very fortunate to see Will Kimbrough, because he rarely slows down. From there he was off to more shows in the midwest.

Will Kimbrough at ScrantonsWill Kimbrough appeared at Scranton’s in Pascagoula, MS (Photo by The Southland Music Line)

ABUNDANTLY CLEAR, KIMBROUGH LOVES WHAT HE’S DOING

Following the breakup of Will and the Bushmen, it could have been easy to go the way of so many musicians, but not Kimbrough. He soldiered on in Nashville paving out a way to become one of that town’s most sought after musician and songwriter. His non-stop approach has kept him busy from one project to the next. Whether it be from being a producer or one of the very best sidemen men around, he is synonymous with what music is meant to be. He should be given the same consideration as JJ Cale, John Prine or similar artists. Because of his enormous passion and dedication to his craft it is abundantly clear to all who go to his shows and listen to his music that, Mr. Kimbrough loves what he is doing.

Johnny with Will KimbroughWith Will Kimbrough at “The Mary C” (2013) Photo by Stephen Anderson

Will Kimbrough at ScrantonsStephen “Andy” Anderson at Will Kimbrough’s Pascagoula, MS show at Scranton’s. (Fri. Aug. 15, 2014) Photo by The Southland Music Line

 

Will Kimbrough’s Official Website
Will Kimbrough’s Facebook Page
Will Kimbrough’s ReverbNation Page
To Purchase Will Kimbrough’s music:
iTunes
Amazon

Willie Sugarcapps’ Official Website
Willie Sugarcapps’ Facebook Page
To Purchase Willie Sugarcapps’ music:
iTunes
Amazon

Daddy (The band’s) ReverbNation Page
Daddy (The band’s) Facebook Page
To Purchase Daddy’s music:
iTunes
Amazon

To Purchase the music of Will and the Bushmen
Amazon

To Purchase Bis-Quits’ music:
iTunes
Amazon

Sara Jean Kelley’s Official Website
Sara Jean Kelley’s Facebook Page
Sara Jean Kelley’s ReverbNation Page
To Purchase Sara Jean Kelley’s music:
iTunes
Amazon

Truitt Williams Band’s Facebook Page

Frog Pond at Blue Moon Farm’s Official Website
Frog Pond at Blues Moon Farm’s Facebook Page

Scanton’s Official Website
Scranton’s Facebook Page

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Assisting with editing on this article: Patsy Cheek (Texas Contributor) and Sandra Cole, NBCT, Med

© The Southland Music Line. 2014. All rights reserved

©The Southland Music Line

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One Comment

  1. His ears must be burning! Played it on the long drive home-
    He is the Alien!- the singing, playing, songwriting ,master !

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