September 21, 1921 ~ May 20, 2001
Willie James Foster was a wonderful old time blues man. Being born into poverty and ending up blind with both legs amputated, he had plenty to be blue about, but he wasn’t! Willie faced life with the joy of the lord in his heart, and a genuine love for his fellow man – and people loved him back!
When he sang and played his harmonica he’d lead folks on a tour of his past life. It was moving. He could get more feeling out of a single note than most musicians can get from a whole song. His style was slow and easy, his licks elementary, but his harmonica playing is still some of my favorite ever recorded.
From Willie I learned that it’s not about how fast your lungs can blow and draw, nor how quick you can play a lick; instead, playing harmonica is about expressing your passion and feelings. It’s about having an ear and sense of when to play and when to keep quiet. At times, silence can be beautiful. Now Willie is silent, but his music and his legacy of love will play on forever.