Michelle Willson Brought A Little Bit Of Evil (Gal) To Lowell

It has been a long time, other than on a new year’s eve, since I have stayed out until almost 2 a.m. to hear music. I did just that over the weekend and heard the wonderful Michelle ‘Evil Gal’ Willson perform with some of The Usual Suspects at the Back Page in Lowell.

Michelle 'Evil Gal' Willson

Michelle ‘Evil Gal’ Willson

What a high energy show Willson delivered! I have seen her perform a number of times and this show was one of the best.

Michelle 'Evil Gal' Willson

Michelle ‘Evil Gal’ Willson

I first heard Willson sing many years ago (at least twenty) in one of the free summer concerts sponsored by the City of Boston and was immediately impressed with her sultry voice and delivery. I did not see her again until a couple of years ago when she recorded a live album at Scullers Jazz Club and was delighted to see that she has only gotten better with time.

Michelle 'Evil Gal' Willson

Michelle ‘Evil Gal’ Willson

Willson is sassy and sexy in the way she sings jazz and blues standards made popular by such great singers as Etta James, Ruth Brown, Abbie Lincoln, and even Ray Charles. George and Ira Gershwin made an appearance as well in the form of the classic ‘Summertime’.

Michelle 'Evil Gal' Willson

Michelle ‘Evil Gal’ Willson

She knows how to work a room, encouraging people to dance and complimenting them during the songs. The dance floor at this venue is quite small, but a number of couples made good use of it throughout the three sets that night.

Michelle 'Evil Gal' Willson

Michelle ‘Evil Gal’ Willson

Willson was backed by Mike Mele on guitar, Sven Larson on bass (both electric and acoustic), and Seth Pappas on drums. Mele and Larson perform regularly with Willson, but this was my first time seeing Pappas with her. They are a cohesive ensemble, able to improvise or switch courses with a nearly imperceptible nod of Willson’s head.

Sven Larson

Sven Larson

Mike Mele

Mike Mele

Seth Pappas

Seth Pappas

In addition, during the third set we were treated to the addition of guitarist Evan Goodrow to the band. He and Willson have been friends for at least ten years but this was the first time he played with her. The way Goodrow and Mele conversed with each other through their guitars was a joy to behold. I am a lucky woman to have been in the audience for this special show.

Evan Goodrow

Evan Goodrow

Evan Goodrow and Michelle 'Evil Gal' Willson

Evan Goodrow and Michelle ‘Evil Gal’ Willson

Each musician had the opportunity to solo a number of times throughout the evening, something that was much appreciated by the audience. They are all excellent players.

Michelle 'Evil Gal' Willson

Michelle ‘Evil Gal’ Willson

One of the many things I love about Willson is watching her when she is not on stage; she appears to be in a state of rapture as she listens to her band play. She closes her eyes, grinning or laughing the entire time. I almost expected to see tears of joy fall from her closed eyes… Her uninhibited exuberance is a wonderful sight to behold!

Michelle 'Evil Gal' Willson

Michelle ‘Evil Gal’ Willson

Willson is knowledgeable about the history of American jazz and blues, and imparts that to her audience at both her live performances and her morning radio show on WICN radio 90.5 on the FM dial.

Michelle 'Evil Gal' Willson

Michelle ‘Evil Gal’ Willson

Sven Larson

Sven Larson

Mike Mele

Mike Mele

Seth Pappas

Seth Pappas

Willson tends to play fairly small venues and restaurants, but I hope that changes soon because she has a voice that deserves to be heard by as many people as possible. She has been a solid performer for many years in the Boston area, and I hope she will continue for years to come.

About suze72

I've loved the arts all my life... I go to a lot of concerts, take lots of photos and want to share them. Every once in a while I do something other than a concert, too. The Boston area is full of opportunities to indulge my passion - I'd like to help make it yours too!

Posted on August 27, 2015, in concert photos, concert reviews, music, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: