Kentucky native Larry Williams reflects on his journey to Nashville
|Kentucky native, Larry Williams, performing at The Stage in Nashville, TN.|
On Saturday, August 6, 2016, Kentucky music fans will be gathering for the 8th annual Froggy Field Party, hosted by WFKY. Those performing include Sundy Best, Josh Goodlett, Larry Williams, Jamie Tingle, and Don Endlin. The festivities start at 5:00 pm with the gates opening and the music starting about 5:30. It will all take place at the Kentucky Renaissance Fair on 955 Elm Street in Eminence, Kentucky.
Recently, I was able to catch up with Larry Williams on his newfound success while playing in Nashville. Just a few years ago, he was playing gigs at various honky tonks in Kentucky, including Lexington’s Austin City Saloon. It was during a visit to Nashville that he received a phone call that changed his life.
Larry recalled that he was visiting Nashville and got a call from the owner of Tootsies. “He had heard my music online and offered an audition. He asked when the next time I would be in town and I told him that I was down here right now. He asked if I would be able to play Saturday from two to six o’clock. I called up my guys and they came down and played with me that Saturday. A few hours after, the owner called me up and offered a full time slot,” according to Larry. Within a week, his mom helped moved his belongings down to Nashville.
Larry Williams’ family has been influential in his career. Reflecting on his past, Larry said that his love of music “started out with my grandfather, my dad’s dad. He was a preacher in eastern Kentucky in Hazard. He played all of the gospel music and that is how dad learned. He learned from growing up in the church. I remember when I was 8, my dad loaned me a guitar. I didn’t know dad could play guitar. I was sitting on the edge of my parents’ bed. He put some strings on a guitar and tuned it up. As soon as he played that first chord, I was like, ‘okay, this is it.’ I told dad that I wanted to learn and he said, ‘I’ll teach you, but you have to promise me that you’ll never quit it. He showed me a few chords and turned me loose.”
Growing up, Larry and his dad would go to all of the bluegrass festivals and after the show would end, they would all grab their guitars and go to each other’s campsites. Larry said, “We would all sit around and play. That is where I learned how to play. I do remember my first song I ever learned. It was an old traditional bluegrass tune called Long Journey Home. I want to say that the first show that my dad and I got to see together was Ralph Stanley. I remember after a show, my dad walked up to his (Ralph’s) tent and he shook my hand. I didn’t realize how big of an icon he was in bluegrass and country music. I keep looking back now, thinking about that. It was an honor.”
That music bug caught on early, performing at the age of 8 and by the age of 17, playing in the clubs throughout Kentucky. Now Larry Williams has a recurring role of performing at Tootsies. In the meantime, he has been working on songwriting and producing his first EP album. With that album, Larry said that fans can expect songs that are, “about my life, what I’ve been through with the move to Nashville, love, and love gone wrong.” The goal is to have the album released in around six months. His current single, “Drinkin’About You,” has been receiving frequent airplay on WFKY.
In the meantime, fans can see Larry Williams at the Froggy Field Party, along with other fellow Kentucky natives. His stage performance is a mixture of his influences of Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, Bob Segar, and the Eagles. He plans to perform all original songs to showcase his songwriting and performing abilities. Fans can also check him out performing at one of the many honky tonks on lower Broadway in Nashville.
For more information on Larry Williams, be sure to check him out on Facebook at www.facebook.com/LarryWilliamsArtist. You can check out his new single, “Drinkin’ About You” on I-tunes by clicking here.
Jessica Blankenship is the owner and founder of Kentucky Country Music website with over 20 years experience in music journalism, concert planning, photography, and promotion. Jessica is a Kentucky Colonel and alumni of the 2019 Leadership Kentucky BRIGHT Class and a recipient of the Laurel County’s Ten Under 40 Award. Listen to her each week on WFKY on Friday mornings for the Nashville News Roundup.