Reluctant Bluesman 

Williams grew up surrounded by music in the early '70s, learning slide guitar licks and stage presence from his blues-legend uncle, J.B. Hutto. Ed found his own sound but he respectfully recalls his uncle's influence. "He was real cool and smooth," Williams says softly. "[After watching Hutto] I did want to play…I just wanted to mingle with the people."

During the '70s and into the '80s, Ed played gigs at night on Chicago's North and West sides. By day he worked at a car wash. He says with security at his job he was reluctant to enter a wider musical world and was content playing local bars. Eventually, a broader career forced itself on Ed when Bruce Iglauer of Alligator Records asked him and the Imperials to cut two tracks for a compilation album in 1986. After hearing the band in the studio, Iglauer offered Williams a deal on the spot. The band was soon on national and European stages but Ed clung to his day job. Eventually, circumstances intervened again.

"I was scared and didn't know about the traveling thing. [But] my boss at the car wash made me quit. He said, 'Why don't you take this opportunity?'"

Except for a two-year respite in the '90s to kick his demons ["I had went completely downhill"], Ed now takes advantage of all the opportunities. He admits "I don't like mountains and I don't like flyin'," but the rest is gravy.

"I'm lovin' it. I had no idea where this was gonna take me. I got a lot of peacefulness in life." — Ames Arnold

Lil' Ed and the Blues Imperials play the Boulevard Deli, 5218 W. Broad St., May 17 at 8 p.m. Tickets are $8 in advance at Plan 9 and the Boulevard Deli or $10 at the door,$8 for River City Blues Society members. Call 282-9333.



Subscribe to this thread:

Add a comment

Connect with Style Weekly

Newsletter Sign-Up

The Flash
The Bite
The Scoop

Most Popular Stories

  • VMFA Purchases Historic Kehinde Wiley Monument Based on Confederate Statue

    VMFA Purchases Historic Kehinde Wiley Monument Based on Confederate Statue

    Large sculpture to be installed in front of museum facing Arthur Ashe Boulevard.
    • Jun 20, 2019
  • High Rise Legacy

    High Rise Legacy

    VCU’s McGlothlin Building is a fine example from one of the world’s most beloved architects who recently passed.
    • Jun 18, 2019
  • Shared Journeys

    Shared Journeys

    The songwriter behind Deau Eyes talks about her musical history and how today, genre feels irrelevant.
    • Jun 18, 2019
  • Singular Gestures

    Singular Gestures

    Alma’s RVA offers a mixed-used art space and gallery with comfort food as an unlikely inspiration.
    • Jun 11, 2019
  • More »

Copyright © 2019 Style Weekly
Richmond's alternative for news, arts, culture and opinion
All rights reserved
Powered by Foundation