Some musicians become famous and leave home for good. Not rocker Willy Porter, a Wisconsin native who still calls Milwaukee home when not out on the road — where he is more than likely to be found.
“I still do live in Wisconsin,” the singer-songwriter told The Washington Times. “And I’m staying.”
He brings his unique sound to the District this weekend, stopping at Jammin Java in Vienna on Friday evening.
Mr. Porter lists musical influences as varied as jazz, folk and blues. He counts Lindsey Buckingham of Fleetwood Mac and Joni Mitchell among his guitar heroes.
“I enjoy everything that is possible with a guitar,” he said. “Every form of music [has] all trickled in one way or another” into his own playing.
As most professional musicians are keenly aware, touring in support of an album is an outdated music industry practice. Musicians now must spend much of their time touring to make money, with album sales all but an afterthought.
“You used to be able to stay home a third of the time longer, because you could sell CDs and make a chunk of dough there,” Mr. Porter said. “But that seems to have gone away. I don’t know what it’s turning into, but we’re all waiting anxiously.”
Despite today’s need to be in perpetual motion, Mr. Porter maintains that being his own roadie is part of the fun of getting on stage every night.
“Every time you get to set up your gear, it’s kind of like Christmas morning all over again to me,” he said. “You get to unwrap everything and see if it still works, so I don’t mind that part of it at all. I’ve always loved touring, so it’s not a real chore for me to do it. I enjoy the geography of the U.S.”
Mr. Porter, 50, is touring behind his latest album, “Human Kindness,” on a double bill with singer-songwriter Carmen Nickerson. He said his fans can look forward to hearing new tunes as well as deeper cuts from his catalog.
He said he enjoys coming to the nation’s capital, where he has shared the stage with greats such as Jeff Beck and Jethro Tull. He also has longtime friends who live in the region.
He recalled a family trip to the capital last year, during which the Porter clan explored the National Mall on bikes.
“[We] rode up to the Lincoln Memorial at night under almost a full moon,” Mr. Porter said, “and I think it changed the way my kids will see what it is to be an American forever. It was just extraordinary [and] something to be proud of really truly.”
IF YOU GO
WHAT: Willy Porter in concert with Carmen Nickerson
WHERE: Jammin Java, 227 Maple Ave. E., Vienna, Va. 22180
WHEN: Friday, 7:30 p.m.
TICKETS: $20 in advance and $23 on the day of the performance. Call 877/987-6487 or visit JamminJava.com