fbpx The Jontavious Willis Band | Krannert Center for the Performing Arts | University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

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The Jontavious Willis Band

“Jontavious Willis. That’s my Wonderboy, the Wunderkind . . . I just love the way he plays,” says blues legend Taj Mahal. An ELLNORA | The Guitar Festival alum (2017), Jontavious Willis leverages his unique sound—a synthesis of his Georgia heritage and reverence for traditional blues—to get the world dancing again. A Grammy-nominated musician and songwriter, Willis performs original, toe-tapping tunes in the style of Delta, Piedmont, Texas, and gospel blues. His dynamic vocals, technical prowess, and abundance of Southern charm send jolts of vitality through the audience, reinvigorating today’s blues with the spirit of the past.

As a youngster in rural Georgia, Willis found his passion for the blues while singing gospel music at the Mount Pilgrim Baptist Church with his grandfather and viewing YouTube videos of the great bluesman Muddy Waters. Willis gained national prominence when Mahal and Keb’Mo invited him to join their 2018 TajMo tour. Blue Metamophosis, Willis’ 2016 acoustic debut album, won him the Blues Foundation’s International Blues Challenge 2018 Award for Best Self-Produced CD. Willis now features prominently on stages and in festivals around the world, sharing his unique blend of time-honored yet modern, intellectual yet danceable Blues.

“Only a few like him emerge every decade or so, when even the most hard-core blues fans realize immediately that this is the real deal, a player and singer whose got it all: deep roots feeling, instrumental prowess, and a voice that carries the heart and soul of the blues with unwavering connection to the ancient roots.” (Living Blues Magazine)

Patron Co-sponsors

  • Frances & Marc Ansel

Event Details

Tryon Festival Theatre
Fr Jan 24, 2025 - 7:30pm CT

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