Terry “Big T” Williams
Awarded 2009 Blues Guitarist of the Year
Terry “Big T” Williams was named “Blues Guitar Player of the Year 2009” on Sunday, March 29, by the Bay Area Blues Society’s West Coast Hall Of Fame.
From the time he was born, in 1962, Big T was listening to the blues that poured forth from the radio at home where he lived with his parents and 15 siblings. His grandmother told him stories about her friends Muddy Waters and John Lee Hooker. And he’d listen to musicians play at the home of Ike Turner, who lived just one block away.
At age 11, Big T met Johnny Billington, a renowned Delta blues musician and music teacher in need of a bass player. Billington put a bass in the young boy’s hands, and said he had been chosen to become his next bass player. While only in elementary school, Big T made day trips with Billington to play at clubs in nearby towns and small cities around the Delta. Four years later, Big T dropped out of high school and began traveling the country, touring with The Jelly Roll Kings, and later with The Stone Gas Blues Band, and Big Jack Johnson.
While on the road, Big T taught himself to play guitar, and in 2000 he began fronting his own blues band. His musical influences include traditional blues, disco, funk, and hip hop. He has performed at blues clubs around the world, and has played at numerous blues festivals, including the Chicago Blues Festival, the Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle, Wash., and the Russell City Blues Festival in Oakland, Calif.
Big T has recorded five CDs, and has sat in with Albert King, Bobby “Blue” Bland, and CeDell Davis.
Additionally, Big T has served as a teacher at the Delta Blues Museum’s Arts and Education Program, training young children and adults to play the blues.