Fraser / Live Music: Touring musician: Soles are worn, but his songs keep singing
March 14, 2008
Touring musician Christopher Williams has been hitting the pavement pretty hard for the past nine years and stops next in the Fraser Valley as the special feature for Rocky Mountain Roasterys Java Mic Night.He is a singer/songwriter, storyteller and all-around entertainer who hails from Nashville, Tenn. and has been aggressively touring the United States for almost the entire last decade nonstop (with more than 140 shows each year). His performances are wrought with original work on the acoustic guitar, harmonica and djembe hand drum. My shows are fun because there are a lot of stories told, he said, and interaction with the audience and I switches between all of these instruments throughout the night.Hes opened and played percussion for Grammy-Award-winning band Jars of Clay, played with songwriter luminaries Arlo Guthrie, Phil Keaggy, and David Wilcox; and he has played in Grand County several times before (including at the Grand Lake Folk Festival). Along the way, he has gathered a following of faithful listeners and they enjoy the true independent artist while hes on the road and through seven records from Williams own label.The musician, who estimates hes been playing for about a dozen years, has been interested in music since he was a kid singing in the church choir. He learned his first instrument, the cello, in grade school, but it wasnt until his college years that he picked up his first guitar and began to think of it as a career.With a heart for social justice he is said to perform songs that are honest and energetic performances that engage audiences with an appealing mix of intense passion and humor. He is an advocate for the Blood:Water Mission and International Justice Mission and his latest album, Sweet Redemption highlights songs about recent trips to Kenya and Uganda. Hes also had the recent opportunity to contribute music for an upcoming documentary called Sons of Lwala, as well as a USAID documentary, and he played during the International Justice Mission 10th anniversary banquet in Washington, D.C.Friends in Nashville started the Blood:Water Mission organization, which raises awareness about the clean water crisis in Africa and builds clean water wells for communities. He said the experience really opened his eyes and so he wrote a few songs that were inspired by his relationships with some of the people he met there and truly learning what joy means, in the face of suffering.He said that latest album was a bit of a departure from the norm for him, explaining that on his previous CD, When I Was Everything, the songs reflected what he was feeling inside as he prepared to get married. Sweet Redemption, on the other hand, takes a look outward, reflecting both his trips and the death of his father. Grief is such an amazing thing and it affects everyone differently and at different times, he said.Hes really excited to return to the county and is doing quite a few house concerts while hes out here in Colorado. I hope that they feel entertained, but also challenged to think about life a little differently; and that they leave with a sense of hope, he said.Each Friday night during the ski season, the Fraser Roastery will be hosting a wide selection of musical talent from across the country for all ages. Upcoming features include One Mile Down March 21, Goodness & the Friction March 28, J.J. Heller April 4 and Grayson and friends April 11. As a way to thank the many people who come out to support live music, the Grand County Blues Society often gives the Roastery tickets to their blues shows to raffle off on Friday nights.