5 Songs that I cover every gig


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As a live performing musician, most paying gigs are cover gigs. It has actually become an interesting job. Sure, there are definitely those songs that you always hear people play and they’re great songs. However, some folks want to hear something a little different every now and then. There are so many other good artists and excellent songs out there as well.  When I do cover gigs, I enjoy picking some of my favorite songs and sharing them even if no one knows who it is or have heard it before. I often throw my own original stuff into the mix as well and honestly, no one can tell the difference.

I often get told that I sound like John Mayer. So of course, I’m going to have some Mayer in my setlist. We do have a similar style but I still don’t think I sound like him. You are more than welcome to listen to a few of my originals over on the sidebar if interested. I’m not going to be offended if you don’t. However, I usually play a handful of jams by John mostly because he is an excellent guitar player and songwriter. I enjoy putting my own twist on his stuff and having fun with it.  ‘Good love is on the way’ is one of my favorites to play mostly because of all the hammer-ons and pull-offs and I just like playing in the key of A.  I’m usually optimistic and keep an open mind about all the crazy life stuff happening so I really dig the lyrics as well. There is always good love out there.  I think the real question comes down to how vulnerable you want to be.

John Mayer – Good Love is on the way

I was playing a corporate gig in early 2016 when I had a client request a song ahead of time by Tedeschi Trucks Band. I had actually never even heard of them until then. Only one listen to Susan Tedeschi’s powerful, soul-driven voice and Derek Trucks’ insane slide guitar and I was hooked. I have arranged my own acoustic version of this jam and still include it nightly in my setlist.

Tedeschi Trucks Band – Midnight in Harlem

Eric Clapton is, by far, one of the biggest influences on my music career. This wasn’t always the case. I began playing guitar somewhere around ’87 and was heavily influenced by 80’s rock and hair metal. A few years later, I heard the ‘Unplugged’ album.  I became completely obsessed! I learned ‘Tears in heaven’ and performed in a 6th-grade talent contest. Then, I learned every song.  I began to learn the roots of that playing style. From then on, I started fingerpicking and haven’t looked back. Here is a video of me playing another one of my favorite Clapton jams and showing my fingerpicking skills. I’ll leave you with this unplugged version of Clapton’s classic hit, ‘Layla’ that I play every night.

Eric Clapton – Layla

David Bowie was always an interesting artist to me.  He wasn’t necessarily an influence on me as a musician as much as he was an artist. He was unique and original in everything he did.  He did things the way he wanted no matter what people said or thought.  Sure, drugs probably helped fuel his passion but either way, it was on fire and it radiated. As with any artist, it takes a certain amount of talent, skill, ambition, and determination combined with enough courage to make it all happen.  It doesn’t even matter who it is.  Once you see this, you will be inspired like never before.

David Bowie – Man who Sold the World

Ah, Yes! Steve Miller Band. So many goodies here as well. ‘Joker’ is often the one you always hear acoustic artists play but only a few are able to pull it off and really give it justice.  ‘Fly like an eagle’ is one of the few songs I use a loop pedal on.  Honestly, I am not a fan of the loop pedals so much.  Maybe that’s because I spent so many years learning how to accompany my vocals and guitar playing derived from thumb-driven bass lines and multiple string melodies integrated into simple chord progressions.  Or maybe I just don’t want to have you listen to a loop for 5 minutes before I start the song. However, pedals can be fun and they definitely switch things up. I keep this one pretty simple. I enjoy being able to bang on my guitar and add that funky drum beat to the loop ultimately making this one song that def hits my setlist every gig.

Steve Miller Band – Fly like an Eagle

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5 Cool Country/ Folk Jams


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Recently, I had the chance to listen to some of Chris Stapleton’s stuff on Spotify and ‘Traveler’ really got me. All my life I have been moving from one place to another just long enough to get my feet wet, then on the next.  It is quite a liberating feeling but sometimes you meet people along the way that really grab your heart and it’s tough to let them go.  I tip my hat to ya Chris. Well Done! Hope you guys enjoy this live version performed with his wife. Feel free to grab the studio version single as well.



I came across this cool acoustic version of Chris Lane’s ‘Fix’ a few weeks ago.  I’m a sucker for stripped-down acoustic stuff by the way.  If I can find good ones, I’m definitely going to share them.   I think we have all been there when you meet someone new, sparks fly,  and you simply just can’t get enough of them.  When you don’t see them much, you need your fix!  I think this song nails it.



This next one is the real deal.  I know a lot of songs that try to hint around and draw circles around hidden meanings. Not this one! And that’s exactly what I love about it. It’s short, sweet and straight to the point. Hell, it might even you blush a little but I feel it for sure.  ~ EricChurch – Like a wrecking ball ~

https://embed.vevo.com?isrc=USUV71501520&autoplay=true

Like A Wrecking Ball by Eric Church on VEVO.

Ryan Adams is definitely one my favorite artists out there.  I love how he nails this acoustic version of his studio hit, ‘Come pick me up’, here at this singer-songwriter night.  The dynamic of his harmonica playing almost sends shivers down my spine. I love it! (Explicit Lyrics)


I was debating on putting John Mayer on here but since I am a huge fan, I think I’ll leave a blog post just for him and 5 of his songs that I like the most.  Make sure to sign up for my blog over on the right and I’ll send it directly to your email if you want to catch that one and many others. Anyhow, Here’s one of my favorite Keith Urban jams. It’s such a feel-good summer song that makes me think about a new fling.  John Mayer just happens to be on this live version I found and very accommodating I must say.



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‘All the time’ – Original

 

I picked up my old Kay archtop the other day during the tropical storm power outage and this tune suddenly came to me in all its entirety.  I love it when that happens!  And of course, I had to record it!  I had originally planned to add percussion and some keys but once I heard it back with only an acoustic guitar, I was sold on it.  I am usually super picky about getting recordings out but I’ve decided I just really want to share more of what I create and worry less about technicality.  So, here it is to share with you.  You can grab a high-quality wav of the song for only $1 if interested but also more than welcome to stream as many times as you like and share it for free! Thanks for listening!

Jeffery Willis Promo

I finally had some time to crank out a few new promo video compilations this year.  After doing a ton of video work for other bands and artists, I realized I needed to update my own stuff.  Then, I realized I had to actually find the time to do it! As a musician that covers several genres spanning many decades of good music, it can be tough to tell someone exactly what kind of music you play.  My answer is usually, “anything.” I, then,  find myself with a pile of random song requests asking if I play this or that… Well, I guess that’s what I get for giving that answer. I might not know every song but I know enough good ones to be considered a jukebox!

Every since I bought the Sony HDR-MV1 Music Video Recorder (Black), I have been packing it around to random gigs and attaching it to the mic or tablet stand and recording my entire gig. That’s actually the easy part! At some point afterward, I spend way too much time digging through the footage to find a few good quality songs and piece them together to make a diverse compilation video. This is where my profession in procrastination takes over.  However, I’m quickly learning that if I want to take my business to the next level, there is no time for procrastination.

Over the past year, I have become comfortable with meeting a specific quota and just going with the flow. There is definitely nothing wrong with that but I feel like I am cutting myself short. I am beginning to learn the difference in quota and potential. I am ready to surpass quota and finally reach for potential. I honestly believe that the sky is the limit. I write these little blogs to not only share my story and my musical experiences with you but to hopefully inspire some of you to think for yourself and go beyond what you think you are capable of. It’s not an easy path to walk on or stay on but the rewards are incredible. Life’s a journey, not a destination! ~Steven Tyler

‘Nobody knows you’ Blues Standard Cover

This old blues standard is always a fun song for me. I love the picking style during the unplugged spin that Eric Clapton did nearly two decades ago now. Its hard to believe its been 20 years. And I just had a birthday last week so I feel especially old now! Seriously though,  I love entire whole ‘Unplugged’ album.  That album was a turning point for me as a musician. I remember learning ‘Tears in heaven,’ then performing it while singing it at my elementary school. I ended up winning the 4H tournament. I think I was in 6th grade or something. After that, I became so obsessed with that style of picking and sort of created my own version of it and infused it with a blues and folk.  This is my version of Clapton’s version.

The lyrics are great, too! Mostly because I can actually memorize them. I never knew it was such an old song until I heard on some old blues stuff one day. Apparently, it was written way back in 1923 by a guy named, Jimmy cox. Jimmy wrote the song from the perspective of a millionaire during the prohibition era and the ebbs and flows with that kind of lifestyle. After the United States depleted nearly everything to survive the post-effects of World War I,  the country went into a recession, and food rations suddenly went into effect. From the lyrics, Jimmy’s fictional character must have lost more than a higher food ration.  The lyrics always inspired me because in times of need, you learn who your friends are and in most cases ‘nobody knows you.’ I think we have all felt the feelings of being alone and desperate. I added a link here, ‘Nobody knows you’ lyrics, if you want to follow along with the lyrics.  I’m sure I change a few words here and there but the meaning stays the same. Also if you haven’t had the chance hear it, I highly recommend checking out Eric Clapton’s ‘Unplugged’ album.  This is one of my favorite albums of all time. I’m not trying to compare or anything, but I couldn’t leave out the inspiration that brought me where I am now musically. Anyhow, I hope you guys enjoy. It had a great response on Instagram, so I thought I would blog it. So, go follow the Ig and you’ll get to see more cool stuff that I do with photography as well. You can also follow my photography blog as well, JLW Photography.

 

Watch “‘Give it all’ – Original song by Jeffery Willis

As a musician that plays a lot of cover gigs, it’s easy to lose sight of why we do what we do. I have always enjoyed writing music and lyrics as a form of expression. It’s been a constant outlet in my life for many struggles and hardships. ‘Give it all’ is an original song of mine I had put together over the past couple of years. The lyrics are in the youtube description in the video if you’d like to follow along. The song started out as some sort of a ballad that quickly turned slightly political and directed towards those with power. It’s not that I’m against power, I’m voicing my opinion against what is being done with that power. I never thought how relevant this song would end up being to how things are unraveling in our government right now. A lot of people have given so much to literally have it all taken away from them. It makes my heart ache to see our country divided and to see so much hate directed toward minorities in our country. These people are human beings and should be treated like so, whether legally here or not.  Compassion does still exist among some of us. Anyhow, I don’t want to get on a political rant here, so go check out the song.  Follow my blog here, give me a like on facebook, and/or subscribe to my Youtube channel.

I have been shooting most of my videos lately using this super lightweight and portable camera, the Sony HDR-MV1 Music Video Recorder (Black) with Sony 32GB Micro SDHC Card plus Camera Case and Accessory Kit. The audio from this little guy is excellent and the video is def not too shabby as you can see in the video. It works great in almost any environment and does exceptionally well in low light conditions. I picked mine up on amazon and got a nice little bundle of accessories to go with it which work well to get you started. If you are looking for something similar to what I’ve been using it for, follow the link above and it will take you right to it. I’ve also included the link to these Martin MSP7200 SP Lifespan 92/8 Phosphor Bronze Medium Acoustic Guitar Strings
I have found that the tone and playability of these guys last significantly longer than any other strings I have used while agressively playing four nights a week. Go and give those a try. I guarantee you will love them!

Stay tuned for more performances of original songs and more of my favorite covers. If you’d like to hear me cover one of your favorites, leave me a comment and I’ll see what I can come up with.

‘Layla’ Cover

Eric Clapton has been, by far, one of the greatest influences in my music career. His picking style hooked me back when he released the ‘Unplugged’ album. Of course, he is one of the best lead/solo guitarists in the blues genre but this style came a little later on for me. Here is a short clip of Layla, a famous tune by Clapton. I do it in my own version of his style. Hope you guys enjoy!