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Willis Brownstone has heartfelt lyrics

March 28, 2003

By Jennifer Thomas

This weekend will be full of enticing entertainment for music lovers as local band Willis Brownstone performs 10 p.m. Friday at Scruffy Murphy's and 8 p.m. Saturday at the apartment complex Arlington Farms.

'Willis Brownstone has strong and talented musicians and a collective sound that hasn't been matched in local music for years,' said Lindsey Page, a Flower Mound junior.

Willis Brownstone is a unique jam band of four Waco locals. Josh Roberts and Ryan Patrick lead on guitar and vocals. Caleb Jones, backup vocalist and bassist, and Jeremy Bryant, drummer, top off the band's talented and appreciated style.

'What 'cha talkin' about Willis,' a line commonly quoted from the television show Different Strokes, is the basis for the band's name. As for the origin of Brownstone, Roberts said, 'It just flowed well with Willis.'

Roberts, also the technical specialist in the audiovisual services department at Waco Hall, described the band as 'groove-oriented, very improvisational, upbeat and fun.'

Heartfelt lyrics such as 'The birds still sing the pure true melody that makes my vibral bell ring' are sung to music inspired by bands like Jimi Hendrix, the Allman Brothers Band and Bob Marley.

Willis Brownstone recorded their live album Ragic Plif, 'flip cigar' spelled backwards, in January 2002 at Treff's in Waco.

Roberts said that the people who appreciate Willis Brownstone are usually musicians and fans who listen to bands like Stevie Ray Vaughn or Phish.

Roberts said that the band's toughest obstacle has been trying to build an audience without playing Top 40 cover songs to sway interest.

'We try not to conform to what everyone else wants just to get people to come to our shows,' Roberts said. 'If we're going to do a cover, we play songs that we like that aren't played out on the radio.'

'Our band plays more to the ears than the eyes because we're more into music than looking or acting a certain way,' he said.

Willis Brownstone is currently working on a new full length album that they plan to have recorded by this summer and also would like to record another live album sometime this year.

Roberts said that the new album will have all new songs on it such as 'Severed Shoes,' which is an upbeat song with a funky bass solo.

Willis Brownstone also will be playing April 10 at Diadeloso.