By Gregg Bragg, The Island Connection Staff Writer
The Seabrook Island Lake House is the chosen venue for another stellar act scheduled for Thursday, Oct. 19 starting at 7:30 p.m. “Rockin” Jason D. Williams is coming to town. He’s bringing Rodney Polk [drums], Jimmy Davis [bass], and guests which could include such names as James Irving [guitar/drums], and Steve Clark [horn].
Williams says Memphis is the band’s home, and responds to the question like it’s something you should already know because, “it’s where all the best piano players are from.”
Williams is cut from the same bolt as Jerry Lee Lewis. “There’s nothing like Jerry Lee before or since… except me,” says Williams. His genre is a multiple choice of descriptions which includes; Boogie Woogie, Rockabilly, and Root Music (e.g. the genesis of American music). He plays with “a type of left hand movement. I have a strong left hand, and I run a lot. My style demands I be in shape,” says Williams. The “style” he mentions is nothing short of astonishing.
Williams accosts the keyboard with sledgehammer like key strikes using his hands, feet, elbows, etc., while upside right, upside down and everything in between. Williams’ verve is contagious, infecting audiences with an enthusiasm which has to be seen to be appreciated, and certifies every event is unique.
“I’m a combination of Jackson Pollock, Vladimir Horowitz, and Joe Namath. If you have a picture of that, you get an idea of what I am,” says Williams of the spontaneity, precision and confidence his brand requires. “I’m hearing it for the first time. That leaves the band lost at times, but we’ve been playing together long enough to know how to play with mental telepathy. We’re always in the same book, sometimes on the same paragraph, a few times on the same sentence, but never on the same word,” he explains.
Williams says his musical inclinations are genetic, starting when he was an embryo. He started playing piano at the age of three, though he says he never did learn to read music, and while most parents have to force kids to practice, Williams’ parents had to use force to stop his sessions. “I was keeping the neighbors awake,” he confesses. He does play versions of songs written by other artists, but prefers making his own music.
Visiting iTunes reveals a slew of songs pegged at the very top of the popularity scale. “You Look Like I Could Use a Drink,” “Pianimal,” and “Fingernails,” have a giddy-up cadence, and he only slows it down occasionally for songs like the gravelly voiced “Crippled Down.”
“We play what it used to be like; when music was real, and music was great, and music was entertaining. I love to play. You can use all the words you want, but you just need to see it,” concludes Williams.
Members of the Town of Kiawah Arts & Cultural Events Council are in full agreement. The show is sponsored by the Arts Council, and tickets are free though limited in number. You can call 843.768.9166 or visit kiawahisland.org/events/ and follow the links.
The Arts Council sponsors dozens of events every year in an effort to enhance community appreciation and involvement in the visual and performing arts with the Town of Kiawah Island and its environs by providing a diversity of planned programs.