Willie Mae
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Willie Mae

Neptune Beach, Florida, United States

Neptune Beach, Florida, United States
Band Blues Americana


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"Bound To Roam"

From the Bozeman (Montana) Blues Review (Sept. 08):

"Get ready to open a great book: a non-fiction novel about the early 20th century life in the American Deep South. This newly released CD by a group of talented Blues devotees skips the written pages and gets right down to rich music and lyrics for telling the story.

"The listener can't help but 'hear' between the lines and delve into the many subplots: the struggle for life, the depth of human feelings and the utter joy of the Blues. Mississippi John Hurt, if he were alive today, couldn't help but give a wry smile to this tribute as a biographical sketch of his place in time.

"'Willie Mae' captures more than just great music. Ballad vocals of the period and a diversity of timbre put gutteral feeling into each individual chapter of this saga, while collectively setting the era in your soul.

"As agricultural turmoil ruled the old South, tracks like 'Delta Storm', 'Trouble', and 'Scarecrow' put you right in the fields with trembling tones and searing lyrics. The symbolism is heavy-reliving the cultural 'climate' of the South in the 1920's that never 'roared' and the 1930'2 that brought only dust. Other cuts trace the fertile roots of Gospel, like 'Devil Be Gone' and 'Salvation Train,' where fear and God are synonymous, but faith is one of the few safe houses of the time.

"It's no surprise that repressed but rock-strong women embrace you on 'Two-Bit Blues' and 'Split-Moon.' These simple but brilliant women may be 'used' but they let you know they are not blind with lines like, "I want to release you AND let you go" from 'No More' and 'can't make butter when the milk is sour' from 'Levi and Mercy' (my personal favorite).

"Strapped across the tough times is the ever present manic fun music that places you ina moonshine dive, slapping your knee to the beat of 'Sweet Mama' street walking with 'Walk the Dog' and Flapper dancing, southern style in 'Blues for Buddy Bolden.'

And of course, the brilliance of John Hurt with the cover of 'If You Don't Want Me'-John, we all have to 'move along', but with 'Willie Mae: Born to Roam' is one more assurance that you are not forgotten." - Bozeman Blues Review


"Bound To Roam" 13 song CD released in 2008. Airplay on WROX Radio , Clarksdale, Mississippi. Magfest Radio.



Willie Mae cooks up a literary and rootsy musical stew filled with characters pushed to their physical and emotional limits. Steeped in music from the Mississippi Delta to the hollers of Appalachia, Willie Mae writes and performs songs that are timeless. With a growing repertoire of original music, Willie Mae draws heavily on inspiration from musicians as diverse as Robert Johnson, Bessie Smith, Mississippi John Hurt, Gillian Welch, Hank Williams and Lucinda Williams and writers such as William Faulkner, Flannery O'Connor, Cormac McCarthy and Eudora Welty. Willie Mae adds the inspiration of these great artists to each live performance creating an eclectic mix of heartfelt songs.

From the mother and daughter struggling to stay alive in the floodwaters of Katrina in the song Far Don’t Matter to the 17-year-old girl looking for love in Agnes Mabel Becky Willie Mae beckons listeners with musical journeys of struggle and redemption.
Tamara Grigsby brings the song’s stories to vivid life with her deeply felt vocals. Tamara is a songwriter, poet, and musician. She started singing at a young age developing an early passion for American roots music. Tamara, in addition to singing all of Willie Mae's songs, plays guitar, bass, and harmonica. Her love of music and words is reflected in the songs she writes.

Andy Burke provides a solid foundation for Tamara’s voice with guitar, National steel guitar, piano and mandolin. He is an author of the 2007 book, West of Indigo Blues and is a songwriter and avid traveler.

The road has taken Willie Mae from northeast coast of Florida to the Mississippi Delta to the mountains of New Mexico performing at many great venues including the Bluebird Café in Nashville, Hopson Commissary stage in Clarksdale, Mississippi and The Adobe Bar in Taos, New Mexico.  

In addition to touring, Willie Mae has opened for such diverse performers as Big Sam’s Funky Nation, Amy LaVere, Tommy Talton and Randall Bramblett. Willie Mae has performed at the Mississippi John Hurt Blues Festival, Springing the Blues Festival and will play the Hoopee Jam Festival along with a return to Springing the Blues in 2010.

Willie Mae released their new CD of original blues and American music, Bound To Roam, in late September 2008 and is currently working on a second CD, planned for a summer 2010 release.

Willie Mae dedicates fifty percent of tip income from gigs to The Mississippi John Hurt Foundation, which in turn provides musical instruments and music lessons for low-income children.