5 January 1958, Massachusetts, USA. Singing from childhood, in her teenage years Willson was with a number of Boston area blues and jump bands. She also performed solo, presenting concerts that vividly demonstrated her admiration for Ruth Brown and Dinah Washington. Her tributes to these singers were no mere attempt at impersonation. Rather, Willson displayed her own distinctive style that had evolved through her awareness of the qualities that had made these singers what they were, and which she then filtered through her own musical sensibilities.
From the mid-90s onwards, Willsons profile was raised owing in part to her appearances with the band Evil Gal and mainly through the critical and audience acclaim that greeted her own-name recording debut. She sings with verve and earthy enthusiasm. Although deeply rooted in the blues, Willson happily incorporates lively elements of R&B and jazz into her treatment of a wide-ranging...