Willi is a NW Arkansas native, whose openly queer orientation gives him a unique perspective and voice in the folk/country/Americana space. His towering physical presence is only outdone by his incredibly songwriting and emotionally-charged live shows.
“Part folklorist, part cowboy poet, part Vaudeville entertainer, Willi Carlisle” is “one of the premier songwriters, storytellers, and performers in roots music” -Saving Country Music
“Willi Carlisle speaks his truth...reminiscent of folksingers like Woody Guthrie”-NPR Music
“The greatest Americana artist you’ve never heard of. A storytelling titan”-The Guardian
"Powerful...both down-home and brainy”-Washington Post
WILLI CARLISLE is a poet and a folk singer for the people, but his 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. 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 in his wildly raucous live performances, where songs range from sardonic trucker-ballads like "Vanlife" to the heartbreaking queer waltz "Life on the Fence," to an existential talkin' blues about a panic attack in Walmart's aisle five. With guitar, fiddle, button-box, banjo, harmonicas, rhythm-bones, and Willi's booming baritone, 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 a quick wit and big sing-alongs, these folksongs bring us a step closer to breaking down our divides.