There’s much more to Music City than the country music and gospel industries, with plenty of artists operating just under the surface of mainstream success. Mike Willis isn’t an ‘indie’ artist in the music critic sense of the word, as his tunes are as commercially accessible as anything on country or pop radio, but he’s out there in the trenches playing wherever he can to get some recognition.
That includes a number of those songwriting/open mike competitions, which he’s won in places like Eddie’s Attic in Atlanta and here in Columbia at the White Mule earlier this year. Willis grabs an audience with a superb, understated fingerpicking guitar style and a sweet tenor voice that’s capable of delivering the intimate, personal emotions that he expresses in his songwriting. It’s standard girl/guy relationship stuff, but Willis employs turns of phrase that set him apart.
Curious? he has a new album coming out after the first of the year, but you can hear some of his previous work at www.mikewillismusic.com
Here’s a fan-filmed video of a recent performance at Nashville’s Listening Room venue, with Willis in the middle of a four-man songwriter’s round. You can hear the same song, “Made For You,” on the website, but this shows how he can put the tune across in person as well as in the studio.
If you’re in Columbia, Willis will be back at the White Mule on December 22nd.