Blind Willies is a San Francisco band but don't expect any flowers in their hats. The songs are raw, exhilarating, angry, and at times surprisingly affectionate and vulnerable, delivered in a mix of rock, jazz, gypsy and klezmer. Cello, trumpet, and flute are equally important as crashing electric guitars, and the result is a highly dynamic mix. The band gives terror, hope, surrender, survival, love and hate, a platform, displaying all that makes us human. What ultimately survives is the joy of life itself, and this album shows the way.
"This is the fourth album release by this San Francisco based five piece band. They were originally a duo but felt the need to expand their sound on this genuinely unusual roots album that certainly includes blues but is much more a mish mash of styles. There is an occasional gypsy jazz feel, then sometimes they seem to be heading for orchestral territory only to pull back before getting in too deep, then there may be a little ‘world music’ slant or they will even head into hard rock territory and don’t be surprised if you happen across several gorgeous ballads! As you can gather from the preceding this is not a ‘standard’ roots album. Songwriter and vocalist Alexei Wajchman binds everything together with his evocative vocal style that allows the rest of the band to go wherever the mood takes them. There is on occasions a Steely Dan feel but more in terms of David Palmers vocals on the first album ‘Can’t buy a thrill’ although there is often a notable funkiness that again evokes the mighty Dan! If you have a liking for music that has a rootsy feel but is otherwise genuinely uncategorisable I think it’s true to say you will absolutely love this extraordinary recording."
Three New Reviews
March 6, 2015
Whisperin' and Hollerin', Martin Raybould, Ireland:
"Wajchman is not afraid to take on some dark themes with macabre imagery like that of Potential Bag: 'I slept through a storm of envy and greed, And woke up in the belly of a monstrosity'. However, mixed in with the horror stories there is the notion that hope can win through provided you are willing and able to 'realign your expectations' (The Possible World). The human instinct to survive and procreate is addressed directly in the self explanatory I Need A Woman and it all ends with the positively cheery sing-a-long of Big City . . . All in all, the one hour sonic trip begins on a ghost train to hell and ends with a carefree helter skelter ride." Martin Raybould, Whisperin' and Hollerin', Ireland
Acoustic Magazine, Playlist, March 2015:
"Blind Willies are apparently an Americana act from San Francisco, but in fact that term doesn't begin to contain the riotous mix of klezmer, jazz, gypsy punk and blues the band throw at you. Binding it all together is the abrasive, political, challenging songwriting of Alexei Wajchman, who takes no prisoners and doesn't flinch from challenging you with his lyrics. Those songs are driven, though, by a melange of instrumentation including cello, accordion, flute and trumpet. The Blind Willies will energize you, challenge you, and make you dance--and that's a rare combination."
Daily Express, February 13, 2015:
"This fourth album by the San Francisco quintet is Americana with attitude and a lot more besides. There are hints of jazz and gypsy-folk in their music, even a sound not far removed from Steely Dan at times. But at the centre of it is the dynamic, politically charged writing of frontman Alexei Wajchman. Starting with a bang, the musically light opener Cremo Tango recalls Auschwitz with its chilling line 'Ladies and Gentleman, this way for the gas', while 42 Jews highlights oppressed minorities. But it's not all heavy, as Big City is a celebration of singing songs with kids."
Airplay and Review
January 15, 2015
Blind Willies recent radio play: KUWS, WRRW, WVIA, KAFM, KMUD, KRFP, RadioFreeAmericana.com, indiecalgary.com, WMCO, WOMR, WRFW, KBUT, KDNK, KDUR, KHSU, KIDE, KKFI, KOOP, KOTO, KRCB, KRVM, KSUT, KUNI, KUNM, KUWS, KVNF, KVRX, MSPR, WCNI, WCRD, WCYT, WDCC, WERU, WETS, WGWG, WKWZ, WLOY, WMNF, WMSR, WNCW, WOUB, WRST, WSOE, 106.8FM PhonicFM.com, sonicbandwagon.com, severnfm.com, celt95FM celtmusicradio.net, The Troubadour Show thepenguinrocks.com, amazingradio.com, thejacketsamericanajukebox.co.uk, bluesandrootsradio.com, "For Folks Sake": Drive 105.3FM (Derry), ISA Radio (France), themillertellshertale.co.uk, kyouradio.com, radiosix.com, radioseagull.com, Dublin South FM, croydonradio.com, Caschlar-BBC Radio Ulster, Dublin City FM, Tiompan-BBC Radio, totallyradio.com Gilded Palace Radio Show, Acoustic Routes, UK; Richard Harris Folk and Blues Show, UK; 93.2FM Bristol The Country Music Show; WLFR, KNBA, KALA, KBGA, KGFN, KSDB, KWCW, WCBE, WHCL, WLUR, WLVR, WMTS
The new album is reviewed in the January/February 2015 UK magazine, fROOTS:
"Glory be, they sound like a mutant of The Holy Modal Rounders and Violent Femmes, which is just dandy. Themed, however loosely, around the notion of freedom, main man Alexei Wajchman has busked the streets of Europe and produced songs concerning the internment during WW2, ongoing persecutions of gypsies and other minorities. All things considered a right barrel of monkeys."
New Videos and Review
October 29, 2014
We released three new videos from our Viracocha show in August this week: Loretta, Dig A Hole, and I Need A Woman. Dig A Hole was featured at AmericanaUK as their Editor's Pick and I Need A Woman is featured at Folk Radio UK with a short introduction by Alexei.
We have two exciting shows coming up in a few weeks. The first is on October 11th at the 4th Annual Yerba Buena Gardens Night Festival. There'll be over 40 performances on 5 stages including music, art, dance, video, and aerialists. We had a great time playing last year at this eclectic festival and this year will be even better.
On October 17th, we're thrilled to be playing at McSweeney's Variety Show, a Litquake 2014 event. McSweeney's is a literary empire launched by Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida. Other guests include Boots Riley,Thao Nyugen, and Arthur Bradford. Get your tickets early!
July 9, 2014
Sprechen sie Deutsch? Wasser-Prawda gave our album a stellar review and named it Album of the Month for July! Read it HERE.
We'll be on a short Spring Break Tour in a few weeks up to Oregon and down to S. California. Join us!
3/27 Portland, OR
3/28 Sisters, OR
3/29 Willamina, OR
4/3 Atascadero, CA
4/4 Fresno, CA
4/5 Los Angeles, CA
Check our calendar for listings.
November 18, 2013
We're almost finished mixing our new album and we'll soon be sending it off for mastering. We won't be releasing it until early 2014, but we'll be dropping new songs over the next few months as well as videos from our recent European tour. If you'd like to see us live, you can hear us December 6th at the Red Poppy Art House in SF opening for Camillie Mai's CD release party.
See No Evil Tour 2013
August 20, 2013
We're in Dublin for the first gig of our tour tonight at The Grand Social. Come out for a dinner of pints at 10pm.
Check our tour schedule for all of our dates over the next month and a half. We're heading to the UK, Netherlands, Belgium, and Germany.
Great American Music Hall
July 15, 2013
We're honored to be joining Supermule and James Nash & the Nomads at our favorite San Francisco venue on Friday, July 19th. We've seen a lot of great shows at GAMH over the years and it's exciting to finally play it again (we played for Warren Hellman's birthday party when we were still in high school). You can view the event details at facebook.
June 24, 2013
Thanks to everyone who voted for us to be booked at the Magneet Festival in Amsterdam. After receiving a groundswell of support, the organizers offered us a spot at the crowdsourced festival. We'll be playing a set on September 15th!