Versatile singer, songwriter, and guitarist extraordinaire Willy Porter is coming to Boyne City January 23. MyNorth entertainment writer Ross Boissoneau gives us more on the guitarist and singer before the Boyne City music event.


Willy Porter

How He Got His Start

A young Porter studied viola, but after coming across a copy of Leo Kottke’s album 6 and 12 String Guitar he switched to guitar. He began treating audiences to his songs and guitar-playing in the late ’80s while living in Madison, Wisconsin. He became a regional favorite, playing theater-size shows around Milwaukee and the area.

He released his independent debut, The Trees Have Soul, in 1990, and four years later released his breakthrough, Dog Eared Dream. It was picked up in 1995 by Private Music, and he’s released nine more albums since while touring relentlessly.


A melding of folk, blues, rock and jazz, emphasizing his fingerstyle guitar playing

Influences and Inspirations

Leo Kottke, John Fahey, Michael Hedges, Peter Gabriel, Lindsay Buckingham, Joni Mitchell

Additional Background

Porter has opened for a host of high-profile artists, including Jeff Beck, Rickie Lee Jones, Tori Amos, Paul Simon, and Jethro Tull. He so impressed the lattermost that the band’s leader Ian Anderson and guitarist Martin Barre guested on his albums.

Porter started his own label, Weasel Records, in 2005, and has released his last five albums on the label, as well as two by singer/songwriter Natalia Zukerman.

An active humanitarian, Porter supports Advocates of Ozaukee, a shelter and treatment facility for victims of domestic violence and abuse in his hometown of Mequon, Wisconsin. His annual benefit concerts have raised more than $90,000 for this organization to date.

Porter also helps behind the scenes at First Stage, a Milwaukee-based children’s theatre company, as well as with Kids4Peace International, an international program that works to bring youths from Palestine, Israel, and the Middle East together with their American counterparts in hopes of working towards a dialogue of mutual respect, tolerance, and understanding.

Porter will be performing in a duo with vocalist Carmen Nickerson.


“Few artists have been able to combine humor and music without seeming like a novelty act. Though some of his songs have a deeper meaning, Willy Porter always maintains a light-heartedness in most of his tracks, and in his live performances.” – Gus Campbell, Aztec Review

“Although most of Porter’s work falls in the folk spectrum, with a focus on solo acoustic guitar and vocal work, his latest album, Human Kindness, incorporates a number of elements that he didn’t have access to in previous projects, including a string quartet and horn section.” – James Pouliot, Newburyport Daily News


Freshwater Art Gallery in Boyne City

Date & Time

Saturday, January 23 at 8 p.m.

Ticket Information

Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door for the Boyne City concert. Call 231-582-2588.

For More

More Northern Michigan Music

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Photo(s) by Matthew Bushey. Courtesy