By Marilyn Delk
Some people were simply born to sing; people like Tina Turner, Koko Taylor, Etta James, Aretha Franklin—and Sharrie Williams! Sharrie Williams, known as the Princess of Rockin’ Gospel Blues, will bring her remarkable talents to our community on Thursday, February 8, when Darke County Center for the Arts presents the singer at 7 p.m. in the 1819 room at Hotel Versailles, as part of DCCA’s Coffee House Series. Although Sharrie Williams is not a household name like those divas listed above, she is an award-winning performer who is also known as a gifted songwriter writing from her own life experience who has earned accolades internationally as well as here in her native land.
Born in Saginaw, Mich., Sharrie began singing in her church choir at age six, and before she became a teenager wastouring and recording with the Greater Williams Temple church choir, a group which performed with The Winans and the Reverend James Cleveland, to name a few. Sharrie soon understood that music was her destiny, and trained in jazz and gospel, as well as in drama. Eventually, a gig singing at a Saginaw club named Wise Guys led to life-changing circumstances, as she formed a long-lasting partnership with the venue’s house band and with the club’s owner, Norman “Pops” Crawford. The singer has been married to Crawford since 1998.
Sharrie Williams and the Wise Guys soon were performing regularly at renowned Chicago Blues clubs Kingston Mines and Buddy Guy’s Legends, and then embarked on a tour taking them to Europe. In 2001, the songstress released her first CD, earning a nomination from the Detroit Music Awards for Best Blues Album. Sharrie has since recorded several more albums, one of which—Out of the Blue—won the 2012 Blues Album of the Year Award from the prestigious L’Academie du Jazz in Paris. Sharrie continues to tour the world, and says that she intends to take her “Rockin’ Gospel Blues” to every nation around the globe. Her concerts leave a lasting impression of an intimate encounter with a master storyteller, as she shares personal events and deep feelings with her audiences.
If all of the above is not impressive enough, critical reviews laud her powerful voice and larger-than-life persona. “Sharrie Williams has a charismatic and radiant stage presence that takes hold of you and captures your heart and soul. With every note she can make you laugh, cry, or dance,” states one reviewer. Randy Chandler of Performancemagazine says “The way this woman works a room must be experienced in person, and when she’s belting out tales of hard lives, lost loves, and the strength needed to get through the days, she isn’t just singing the blues—She is the blues!”
DCCA is thrilled to present this charismatic performer at the Hotel Versailles, a new venue for the Coffee House Serieswhich was created to provide an intimate evening of upscale entertainment at a low ticket cost; tickets to Coffee House shows are just $15 each. Those attending the show should note that the 1819 Room is reached through the hotel; parking is available in the hotel lot, 22 North Center Street, Versailles. Those wishing to purchase dinner at the hotel’s prestigious restaurant Silas the night of the show should make meal reservations in advance by calling 937-526-3020.
Very few tickets for the performance by Sharrie Williams remain available; additionally, tickets for the final show of DCCA’s Coffee House Series, a performance by traditional Americana duo Wild Carrot at Wayne Trail Historical Society in Arcanum on April 11, are also almost sold out. To learn more contact DCCA at 937-547-0908 or at www.DarkeCountyArts.org.