About Jaik Willis
“Jaik is a hardcore troubador somewhere inbetween Steve Earle and Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan. He has wandered around the USA like a modern minstrel, surfing sofas, car camping, and paying dues to sing the blues. It is a high energy solo show featuring Jaik’s horn-like voice darting around a blistering broken-string approach to his acoustic flying V guitar, with original songs that are accessible, and message driven” – (Chicago Jams 2005)
A nationally touring performer based in the Chicago area, Jaik has shared bills with artists such as the Drovers, Leftover Salmon, Merl Saunders, Drop Q (Kris Meyers of Umphreys Mcgee, Kalyan Pathak of Fareed Haque Group), Digital Underground, Tea Leaf Green, Split Lip Rayfield, Roger Clyne & the Peacemakers, and Victor Wooten; and performed on stage with acoustic blues dynamo, Corey Harris. Jaiks 4-octave voice stretches out in vocal solos and scatting over his high-energy acoustic guitar work on original songs that are accessible and lyrically intriguing
His song Checks & Balances was featured on Neil Young’s website in 2006 & appears on the Windy City Records Winter 2006 compillation CD. He appears on the Mo Phunk Records 2005 compilation Re-Fuel Your Soul along with groups like Stroke 9 (top 10 hit Little Black Backpack) and Lucky Boys Confusion (Elektra records).
Jaik is an educated musician, having trained at Berklee College of Music in Boston, Illinois and California State Universities’ music departments, and in Hollywood’s Musician’s Institute as their youngest student when he was 16 years-old. He spent all of his teen-age years practicing 10-16 hours per day. After studying jazz and Euro-classical music, Jaik received an ethno-musicology/ anthropology degree with a thesis on microtonal guitar music from Mauritania. He is always seeking performance opportunities and new avenues forward for his music.
“He has a most unique soaring falsetto and a wild eyes rolled in the back of his head fierce guitar style. He writes original songs, including a fantastic song about Freedom (the gas station). Jaik’s sound is somewhere between Anti-Folk and The Band and it is unlike anything I’ve heard from anyone else. His energy is fierce, his vocal range is inhuman, his beard is long. You’ve gotta check this guy out. ” – ( Independent Media Center )
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