Interview from 2015. Check out Willie Porter this year at the Ozaukee Pavilion, get tickets to Willie Porter here!

We were lucky enough to catch Willy Porter at the MSP airport today before he made his way to MKE for a show tonight at the Cedarburg Cultural Center. He’s currently on tour supporting his latest album and tonight, a benefit show for Advocates of Ozaukee. Willy has been playing a yearly Ozaukee benefit show for over 10 years.  Willy took the time for our readers to talk a little about the road, music, and if he if a dog or cat person.

Who were your musical influences?

“For guitar, a little bit of everything, I grew up listening to rock and roll and played more trad (traditional) based folk music with some training in classical guitar. This helped me develop my technique. Some influential musicians are: Joni Mitchell, Richard Thompson, Leo Kottke, Lindsey Buckingham, Fleetwood Mac. (<<<Read the Milwaukee Journal Review of last night’s Fleetwood Mac at BMO Harris Center here!) I view the guitar as a vehicle to find the songs more than vehicle itself. My approach is you don’t have to look at it with rules in mind. It’s been fun to keep exploring it tonally, and sculpting around a song. The journey continues.

What is your connection with Ozaukee County?

I’m a native. I grew up in Mequon and went to Homestead High School. I spent my formative years here.

Why the Yearly Benefit Show for Ozaukee Advocates? (A local organization committed to ending domestic and sexual violence)

I’m a big believer if you’re going to be charitable… it’s great to do something global, but more important to be local, put your back into something local. It’s important, for me anyway to be working with Advocates and help where I can.


How many times have you played your benefit shows at Cedarburg Cultural Center?

For advocates, this is the 9th or 10th time – 4 or 5 times were for the Ozaukee Humane Society. I only switched when realized the amount of people that were were seeking help in Oz, Mom was on the board at the Ozaukee Humane Society, so I started there and made the switch when I learn more about Advocates, however we’re still dog friendly people.


Ha! So are you a dog or cat person?

Gotta go with dog. It’s tough… I love cats, it’s like Lennon or McCartney, gotta go with John Lennon.

95105fe317cba5707a3af549e941370fWhere are you playing now?

I’m playing year round. Carmen (Nickerson) and I did 40 duo dates last year – dozen band dates this year booked, I still do UK tour every year – a 3 week UK tour. This tour were hitting both coasts, sometimes I foray into Canada. It’s been really good, these are not easy times to survive as a professional musician. I’m blessed and have to keep sharpe.

How do you know when you’re connecting with an audience?

I think it’s more the moment when you connect with the song. You can only control intention, It’s more about that moment, like… OK I’m forgetting myself here and letting the song take over and be in the song, that’s a magic moment.

Thanks Willy!

  • You can get tickets to tonight’s performance at the Cedarburg Cultural Center by visiting Ozaukee Advocates
  • You can check out Willy Porter on Tour or pick up his latest album, Human Kindness on his website hyperlinked here.

Willy Porter Advocates of Ozaukee