Ray DeSylvester and the S.E.Willis trio (Steve Willis, Roger Smith, Conrad Valdini)
“A commanding singer and keyboardist (piano, organ, and accordion) who delivers classic and original material with conviction and authenticity.”
Lee Hildebrand, East Bay Express
S.E.Willis, originally from West Virginia, has been playing the piano and harmonica since the age of six, and organ and accordion since his teens. He started playing in rock and roll bands along Arizona’s stretch of Route 66 in 1967. Willis’ music is deeply rooted in traditional American forms: blues, boogie-woogie, country, rockabilly, gospel, zydeco. A veteran band leader, S.E. (Steve) Willis has taken a supporting role in bands with such artists as Chuck Berry, Bo Diddly, Albert King, Jimmy Rogers, Roy Gaines, and, since 2000, Elvin Bishop (his accordion features prominently on the 2014 release “Can’t Even Do Wrong Right”).
S.E.Willis sang tenor with the Oakland Interfaith Gospel Choir and appeared on their 1995 release “We’ve Come a Mighty Long Way.” He worked another three years with founding Meters’ member and New Orleans drumming legend Joseph “Zigaboo” Modeliste, and plays piano on his solo release Zigaboo.com.
Willis has released seven CDs of original and classic material: Airn Beats Nairn, 1999; Luckiest Man Alive, 2002; Cold Hand In Mine, 2003, Taproot, 2007; Pass the Hat, 2013; Turtle Dove Bounce/Live at the Poor House, 2015; Too Much Love (S.E.Willis and the Willing), 2019.
Fifty years in the business and counting, S.E.Willis knows a lot about American roots music and shows it with every note.