Nathan Williams – Zydeco Music
Nathan Williams shares the traditions and his journey to Zydeco greatness
Nathan Williams Zydeco Music starts with family legacy and continues today with his family following in his footsteps. Nate was born on March 24, 1963 and lived in St. Martinville, Louisiana speaking Creole and hearing music all around him. As the youngest of his siblings, he was influenced by the deep cultural traditions and influences around his hometown. Nate was amazed and fascinated by the music of Zydeco originator Clifton Chenier. He was too young to go into the club so he would listen by the window, taking in all the sights and sounds of this high-energy and exhilarating music. For Nate, a love for the music was growing deep inside.
With musicians in his family it was easy for him to develop a love for music and follow in the footsteps of his uncle a Cajun guitarist and his brother Sid owner of an independent record label. It was destined to be – Nathan Williams was on the road to becoming a Zydeco great.
His older brother Sid lived in Lafayette, Louisiana with his wife. Sid’s grocery store was the perfect place to work and learn to play the accordion during breaks. He would practice in the bathroom so no one could hear him. But soon he would learn from Zydeco great Buckwheat Zydeco. Nate’s love of the accordion kept him on track improving his skill and helping him master the instrument which is a vital part of Zydeco music.
After graduating from high school, Nate was recording records on his brother’s record label. He performed for the first time at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival in 1988 and shortly afterwards he started recording with Rounder Records filling a spot left by his mentor, Buckwheat Zydeco. All the days practicing his accordion was rewarded with success.
Nate is married and wrote the song Zydeco Girl in honor of his wife. His son Lil’ Nathan is following in his footsteps and started the Lil’ Nathan and the Zydeco Big Timers.
Our interview with Nathan Williams, Sr. is filled with stories of his road to becoming one of the most acclaimed Zydeco musicians and exploring his music with songs from his latest album. I did pretty much dance my way through this interview. As Nate said, “if you don’t get up and dance to may music, you must be dead!” I told him I’m a’dancin’. It was a first for me, interviewing and dancing at the same time, and I’m still dancing with the music in my head and also in my heart.
Visit Nate’s website where you can purchase his albums – www.Zydecochachas.com
To visit Lafayette, Louisiana – www.lafayettetravel.com
Here is a little of the unedited audio footage from my conversation with Nate in his studio.