IF YOU GO
• What: Lefty Williams Band
• When and where: 6 p.m. today, Aug. 8, at the Hunter Museum of American Art, 10 Bluff View, and 10 p.m. today at JJ’s Bohemia, 231 E. M.L. King Blvd.; 8 p.m. Friday, Aug. 9, at Dumpy’s, 1110 U.S. 64, Ocoee, Tenn.
• Admission: $9.95 at the Hunter; $7 at JJ’s, $5 at Dumpy’s
• Phone: 423-267-0968 (Hunter Museum), 423-266-1400 (JJ’s), 423-338-2943 (Dumpy’s)
• Website: www.lefty-music.com
Some of the greatest musicians are known for their talent, despite their disabilities. For Jason “Lefty” Williams of the Lefty Williams Band, playing guitar with one hand — his left hand, as his nickname suggests — is the least of his musical woes.
Williams has been honing his skills since early childhood. At age 4, Williams approached his father about playing the guitar.
“I do remember being interested in it because my dad played,” Williams says. Jimi Hendrix’s “The Wind Cries Mary” was the first song he learned to play.
Since then, Williams has customized his craft to fit his lifestyle.
He created a pick that straps to his underdeveloped right arm, just below his elbow, allowing him to strum and play faster songs.
“I don’t really think of it at all,” Williams says. He says it’s fun to watch people’s reaction when they actually see how he plays.
Hailing from Marietta, Ga., Williams says he remained in the area while starting his career to be near his family. Staying close also proved beneficial in his choice of schools, the Atlanta Institute of Music.
“When I was in high school, I had been in a music theory class with a guy who went there,” he says.
Williams was impressed by his skills and considered the school as an option, although it wasn’t until years later, when he hit a musical rut, that he enrolled.
“It was one of the best decisions of my life,” he says.
He and his band worked with producer John Keane to create their first two albums, “Big Plans” and “Snake Oil.” Since then, they have signed with Tree Leaf Music.
“We’re going to put out a new EP hopefully in November,” Williams says.
Williams and his band have three gigs in the area. Today, Aug. 8, they will be wrapping up the All-American Summer series at the Hunter Museum of American Art, then playing a set at JJ’s Bohemia. On Friday, Aug. 8, the band will perform at Dumpy’s in Ocoee, Tenn.
Williams has been here before. He played the Bud Light Stage at Riverbend this past summer with his other band, Revival - An Allman Brothers Experience.
Williams’ bluesy rock influence comes from an early love of soulful lyrics and earthy tones.
“Led Zeppelin has always kind of been my No. 1,” he says. “And because of [rock band Blackberry Smoke], I’ve sort of rediscovered Georgia Satellites.”
His creative process usually sparks from something sudden.
“Most of the time it’s when I find new music and it gets me excited,” he says. “Really it can strike any time. It can be a word, and that word will give me an idea.”
Lily Sanchez is a sophomore in the Communication Department at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.