Sunday, March 26, 7 p.m.
Raccoon Motel, 315 East Second Street, Davenport IA
With the Canadian Broadcasting Company calling him "an absolute juggernaut" and The Guardian deeming him "a storytelling titan," folk singer and guitarist Willi Carlisle headlines a March 26 concert at Davenport's Raccoon Motel, the Washington Post adding of the artist, “Carlisle has a poetry in describing songs passed down through generations as a most precious cultural commodity, and a passion and immediacy in performing them.”
A self-described poet and folk singer for the people like his hero Utah Phillips, Carlisle's repertoire is dedicated to the importance of looking out for one another and connecting through our shared human condition. On his anticipated second album, the magnum opus Peculiar, Missouri, Carlisle makes the case across 12 epic tracks that love truly can conquer all. Born and raised on the Midwestern plains, Carlisle is a product of the punk-to-folk music pipeline that’s long fueled frustrated young men looking to resist. After falling for the rich ballads and tunes of the Ozarks, where he now lives, the singer/songwriter began examining the full spectrum of American musical history. This insatiable stylistic diversity is in evidence on Peculiar, Missouri, which was produced by Grammy-winning engineer and Cajun musician Joel Savoy in rural Louisiana, and whose songs range from sardonic trucker tunes such as “Vanlife” to the heartbreaking queer waltz “Life on the Fence.”
Lauded by Cincinnati City Beat as an artist who "turns the cliché of solo performance on its head," Carlisle's latest album also imbues class consciousness in songs including “Este Mundo,” a cowboy border ballad about water rights, and the title track’s existential blues about a surreal panic attack in Walmart’s aisle five. Though Carlisle's poetic words evoke the mystical American storytelling of Whitman, Sandburg, and e e cummings, ultimately this is bona fide populist folk music in the tradition of cowboys, frontier fiddlers, and tall-tale tellers. Carlisle recognizes that the only thing holding us back from greatness is each other, and with The Idle Class magazine praising his "authenticity it takes some songwriters years to achieve," Peculiar, Missouri is deigned to bring listeners one step closer to breaking down their divides.
Willi Carlisle headlines his March 26 engagement with an opening set by Willy Tea Taylor, admission to the 7 p.m. concert is $12, and tickets are available by visiting TheRaccoonMotel.com.