Those who have seen the whimsical and captivating country folk storyteller from Arkansas named Willi Carlisle no one will swear by the natural showmanship he exudes, the enchantment of the old traditional songs and tales he unearths, and the magnetism of the original songs he composes.
Willi Carlisle is like few things you will experience in music. His songs are heavily literary with rich characters, and his delivery is deeply compelling. And whether he makes you laugh, cry, feel unsettled or infinitely satisfied, Carlisle always leaves a lasting impression.
Of course, capturing all of this in recorded form is a challenge, but believers in Willie Carlisle feel like he’s accomplished that with his upcoming album titled Individual, Missouriwhich will be released via Free Dirt Records on July 15th.
Although he grew up in Kansas and Illinois, Willi found his calling in the Ozarks where the ghosts of fiddlers and folk storytellers are still near, and the land speaks deeply to you. Those familiar with Carlisle’s music will not be surprised to learn that he moved there to teach literature and poetry.
“In the Ozarks, I acclimatized to the specifics of the land, like the feel of a dogwood blossom, the crushing of a magnolia leaf,” Carlisle said. “The way everything is full of human blood and buds. Pretty much the first moment I arrived in the Ozarks, I was transported.
But Willi Carlisle found the literary world too stuffy for his liking, thumbing his nose at salt-of-the-earth poets like Woody Guthrie and Utah Phillips, and decided to support these lyrical titans by performing their songs. and a few of his own, while talking about the common struggles we all face, helping to break the bifurcation of American culture instead of contributing to it.
“They have succeeded in convincing people that certain elements of national politics or religious politics are hills on which they must die,” Carlisle said. “Most Americans have been systematically deprived of any ability to defend themselves. The square dance, the concert, the independent record store, the café, the small press, the punk house… These are the places where the right to gather and think freely still lives against all odds.
The soul and authenticity inherent in Willi Carlisle’s music is emblematic of the first single from the new album titled “Tulsa’s Last Magician”, inspired after spending time with a group of magicians in Florida and exploring the idea of a decaying occupation. The recorded single is quite convincing. But seeing the towering yet sweet 6’4″ Willi Carlisle perform the song via Western AF Live (see below) truly exemplifies the magic of Willi Carlisle.
Individual, Missouri is now available in pre-order.
List of tracks:
1. Your heart is a big tent
2. Life on the Fence
3. Tulsa’s Last Wizard
5. Este Mundo
6. I will not be afraid
7. Buffalo Bill
8. Bottom and back
9. Individual, Missouri
10. The Grand Design
11. Goodnight Loving Trail
12. Rainbow Mid Life Willow