Folksinger, multi-instrumentalist (guitar, banjo, harmonica), and sometimes songwriter Willie Watson heard a Lead Belly record when he was 12 years old and his musical course was set. Growing up in Watkins Glen, New York, Watson listened to his father's record collection, which included plenty of artists like Bob Dylan and Neil Young, as well as Lead Belly, and later he discovered Harry Smith's famous folk anthology, all of which informed the style and substance of the traditional and old-time music Watson would make his own. He was one of the founding members of the Old Crow Medicine Show, a quintet that specialized in a traditional American string band sound and had left-field platinum success with a revamped Bob Dylan song, "Wagon Wheel," in the late '90s, recording and touring with the group for some 17 years before leaving to go solo in 2011. He released his debut solo album, Folk Singer, Vol. 1, produced by David Rawlings, early in 2014 on Rawlings and Gillian Welch's Acony Records imprint.
Supporting act: Chicago Farmer
"To call him a folk singer or categorize Chicago Farmer as a singer/songwriter wouldn’t be wrong. It might, however, not accentuate his commanding poetic voice and passion behind his storytelling."-Chicago Innerview Magazine
What sets Chicago Farmer apart from other artists is his ability to connect with any audience through song, stories and spoken word. His songs demand attention and express emotion. From the dirt roads of Central, IL to the City Streets of Chicago, Chicago Farmer has journeyed through the destinations of life and through the hearts of his listeners.