Kimo Williams Band
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Kimo Williams Band

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE

Chicago, Illinois, United States | INDIE
Band Rock Blues

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The best kept secret in music

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Still working on that hot first release.

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Bio

Kimo Williams finished high school in Hawaii and left for Vietnam in 1970: by the time he returned nearly a year later, the only goal he had was to continue to play the music that had made such an impression on him during his service in Vietnam. As the guitarist and leader of a “soldier band”, he toured remote areas of Vietnam with his group “the Soul Coordinators”, often times setting up their equipment in the mud of firebases, on one occasion finding a bullet hole in an amplifier after the gig.

As a child growing up on a sharecropper farm in the south, once he left the Army he vowed to transform adversity into opportunity by pursuing every chance he could find to take his experience in Vietnam as a reason to thrive.

On the GI Bill, he went from having no previous musical education to earning a BA in Composition at Berklee College of Music in Boston. His innovative writing style, which fuses Rock, Jazz and Classical, soon became an expression of his military service with his first CD “War Stories”. He has recorded three albums in this genre producing celebrated artists such as drummer Vinnie Colaiuta, bassist Victor Bailey, guitarist Mike Stern and saxophonist Michael Brecker. Several of his orchestral compositions, including “Symphony for the Sons of Nam”, “Buffalo Soldiers” (commissioned by West Point for their Bicentennial), “Fanfare For Life” (commissioned by AT&T) and numerous string quartets have had performances by nationally and internationally known orchestras.

He co-founded the “Lt Dan Band” with celebrity actor Gary Sinise in 2003 and built it into an 18-piece touring ensemble performing for the USO, national and internationally. Also in 2003, he created what is now the United States Veterans Art Program (USVAP), a non-profit organization that seeks to “increase the representation of veterans in the arts community”. Today, Kimo is on another mission: by forming the Kimo Williams Band as part of his non-profit organization. His goal is to provide employment for veterans as musicians and provide quality music performances reflecting his love of the classic-rock music from his youth.

As a partner organization with the Department of Defense and their 13-year 50th Commemoration of the Vietnam War initiative, USVAP will be developing programs that create public awareness of this era. The Kimo Williams Band as an initiative of USVAP is slated to perform throughout the year at several concert venues, and at veterans and other medical military facilities in support of Art and Music Therapy programs.

The Kimo Williams Band is not only headed by a veteran, it also highlights the talent of other veteran musicians. With Army veteran Steve McMurray on drums, Army veteran Carol Williams on keyboards, vocals and flute, and Air Force veteran Shawn Stanley on vocals and bass.

The band performs original music as well as Classic Rock songs that were popular during the Vietnam War era. Including Kimo’s distinctive renditions of music by Hendrix, Shawn Stanley singing the music of Traffic, Led Zeppelin, Paul McCartney and Free and Carol interpreting music by the Beatles. When they do these covers the band pays homage not just to the music of the 70’s, but to the message of bringing veterans and their music together on stage and creates a unique identity of those who have served in the military.

And amazingly, the Kimo Williams Band makes that an enjoyable experience for their audiences.