FOLKSINGER, WRITER, THEATRE-ARTIST
New album Peculiar, Missouri
on Free Dirt Records
“Willi Carlisle speaks his truth…reminiscent of folk singers like Woody Guthrie”
"Carlisle has a poetry in describing songs passed down through generations as a most precious cultural commodity, and a passion and immediacy in performing them. Both down home and brainy, [Willi] is worth seeking out." —The Washington Post
V I D E O S
Vanlife [Official Video]
Tulsa's Last Magician
To Tell You the Truth
Photos by Ariella Gibson and Matthew Stroud
"an authenticity it takes some
songwriters years to achieve."
-The Idle Class Magazine
"turns the cliche of solo performance on its head" -Cininnati City Beat
of life Americana..."
-Sing Out! Magazine
Willi Carlisle is a poet and a folk singer for the people. Like his hero Utah Phillips, Carlisle's extraordinary gift for turning a phrase isn't about high falutin' pontificatin'; it's about looking out for one another and connecting through our shared human condition. On his anticipated second album, the magnum opus Peculiar, Missouri, Carlisle makes the case across twelve epic tracks that love truly can conquer all. Born and raised on the Midwestern plains, Carlisle is a product of the punk to folk music pipeline that’s long fueled frustrated young men looking to resist. After falling for the rich ballads and tunes of the Ozarks, where he now lives, he began examining the full spectrum of American musical history. This insatiable stylistic diversity is obvious on Peculiar, Missouri which was produced by Grammy-winning engineer and Cajun musician Joel Savoy in rural Louisiana. The songs range from sardonic trucker songs like “Vanlife” to the heartbreaking queer waltz “Life on the Fence.” The album also imbues class consciousness in songs like “Este Mundo,” a cowboy border ballad about water rights, and the title track’s existential talkin’ blues about a surreal panic attack in Walmart’s aisle five. Though Carlisle's poetic words evoke the mystical American storytelling of Whitman, Sandburg, and e e cummings, ultimately this is bonafide populist folk music in the tradition of cowboys, frontier fiddlers, and tall-tale tellers. Carlisle recognizes that the only thing holding us back from greatness is each other. With Peculiar, Missouri, he brings us one step closer to breaking down our divides.
Photo By: Jackie Clarkson