Jack Williams

Jack Williams

Jack Williams

The music of Jack Williams, rooted in his native South Carolina, was shaped by a 54-year career of playing folk, rock, jazz, R&B, classical and the popular music of the 30s, 40s and 50s. He is counted among the most dynamic performers on today’s “folk” circuit – “…one of the most enlightened and entertaining performers I’ve ever encountered”, said Dave Humphreys of Two-Way Street Coffeehouse in Downer’s Grove, IL. Jack is considered a “musician’s musician”, an uncommonly unique guitarist, a writer of vivid songs with a strong sense of place, and a storyteller in an old Southern tradition who further illustrates each tale with his guitar. Rich Warren of WFMT Chicago’s The Midnight Special said, “His artistry is nothing short of amazing”. Vic Heyman, in SING OUT!, wrote, “He is one of the strongest guitar players in contemporary folk.”

Avoiding the compromises of the commercial music industry during his 50+-year professional career, Jack prefers touring under the radar, playing concerts, large and small, week in and week out, from the sheer love of music and performing. Playing for more than 50 house concerts each year, Jack enjoys the intimacy of that venue most of all, with a more personal connection to his listeners. Jack is a sought-after artist on all contemporary acoustic music stages, from coffeehouses and festivals to music halls and city arts stages. From acclaimed appearances at the Newport, Boston, Philadelphia, Kerrville, New Bedford SummerFest Folk Festivals, his musicianship, songs, stories and commanding presence have established him as an uncommonly inspiring and influential performer.

Jack frequently shares his musical knowledge with others. In addition to leading numerous workshops as he tours the country, he has been on the staff of The Swannanoa Gathering in NC, Lamb’s Songwriter Retreat in MI, The Folk Project in NJ, WUMB’s Summer Acoustic Music Week in NH, and co-hosts a semi-annual Music Workshop Weekend near his home in the Ozarks.


Daddy’s Heaven

A billy-goat was feeling fine,
Ate six red shirts from off the line.
Sal took a stick and broke his back,
And tied him to the railroad track.
‘Long came a freight six hours late,
It was so sad, drove William mad.
He gave a shreek of roarin’ pain,
Coughed up the shirts and flagged the train.

My daddy died and went to hell,
But found a way to live so well,
That the folks in heaven, dull and bored,
All bade farewell to their host, the Lord.
They all flew south to that warmer land,
To meet the southern gentleman.
God looked around the empty streets,
Said “Where in hell can they all be?”

He saw his angels trading lies
With my old man ‘neath hell’s red skies.
They looked so peaceful that God did go,
To join that merry gang below.

Now if you fear eternity
The moral of this tale must be,
For those who live true fair and well,
There’s only heaven, there is no hell.
For those who live true fair and well,
There’s only heaven, there is no hell.