Even if you think you don’t know Willie Sugarcapps, you know Willie Sugarcapps. While the band’s moniker may not ring familiar, you will certainly know some or all of the stalwart musicians that comprise the group. Consisting of Will Kimbrough, Grayson Capps, Anthony Crawford, Savana Lee and Corky Hughes, it’s not a stretch to refer to Willie Sugarcapps as a Southern “supergroup.” On Saturday, June 29, Willie Sugarcapps will hold its debut Birmingham performance and CD release party at Workplay. Recently, we caught up with Mobile native and Nashville resident Kimbrough by phone from his daughter’s college orientation in North Carolina.
Brent Thompson: Will, thanks for your time today. If you will, give us a snapshot of the geographic makeup of Willie Sugarcapps.
Will Kimbrough: I’m the only person in Nashville. Anthony was there for a long, long time and Grayson was there for a while. But this is a Gulf Coast-based band – I’m the only one that lives in Nashville and everybody else lives on the Gulf Coast.
BT: How did the project take shape?
WK: I was coming down there a lot more often to play, trying to be with my Mobile family a lot more – just life stuff and stuff that needs doing with your family. I was booking shows down there and we got put together on a songwriters’ round and it turned into this collaborative thing. We didn’t talk about it or plan it, but we got onstage and everybody was singing together. People reacted to it strongly and we loved it. There’s no reason at this point in any of our lives to start a band – we’ve all done it for a long time in music but this seemed sort of inevitable. We started getting asked to do festivals and someone asked us what we called our band and we said, “What band?” [laughs]. We made a record in about eight hours on a front porch. I think it’s turned out great and I think there’s a sound on there you can’t get from the way we usually make records now.
BT: How did the album’s songs take shape?
WK: We traded material back and forth. There’s no co-writing on this record because we all felt like we could bring songs to the table. Once we put our foot on the rock and said, “We’re a band,” I started writing songs for this band. When we did the recording, we ended up with 10 songs and we decided that it was a record. So, it’s a real spontaneous thing, it’s real soulful and it’s real entertaining.
BT: The variety your career affords you – solo artist, sideman to Emmylou Harris, collaborator with Jimmy Buffett and now this project – must keep things very fresh for you.
WK: It does. Whenever it feels like it’s too complex and exhausting, the interesting factor outweighs any of that. We all need to work hard – it’s what we’re built to do as humans. The blessing I’ve had is to enjoy your work and have a variety at a point in your life when you you’re ready to handle the complexities of the schedule. I can’t believe it.
Tickets to the 8 p.m. show are $18 – $20 day of the show – and can be purchased at www.workplay.com