The Norman Transcript

N-town stories

April 12, 2013

Big Sam’s Funky Nation bringing dance groove to NMF VI

NORMAN — “When we come to Oklahoma you can expect a high energy show,” Big Sam Williams said. “Our original tunes have a lot of energy and it will be a lot of fun.”

He’s the groove master and lead trombonist of New Orleans’ mega band Big Sam’s Funky Nation. They’re scheduled to play the prime mid-evening slot at the 2013 Norman Music Festival Main Stage 8 p.m. April 27. All performances at the festival are free.

“We’ve been working on some new songs and will play some covers you’re familiar with,” he said. “But even if you’ve never heard of us I guarantee you’ll have a good time.”

Big Sam’s Funky Nation generates the kind of powerful funkadelic brass band sounds designed to get people on their feet dancing. The beat is fast, rhythm insistent and horn riffs soar over a krunk conflagration that inevitably starts when they start getting down. “Funky Nation gonna rock your soul/ we ain’t talking about no rock ‘n’ roll,” Sam sings in 2010 composition, “See Me Dance (King of the Party).”

Williams is a New Orleans native and credits his artistic inspiration from that storied musical town. It’s a place where you’ll be serenaded with live jazz sitting down to breakfast in the French Quarter. School age kids play beat up trumpets on the street for tips and ancient grizzled guitarists strum guitars on nearly every corner.

“My band has evolved from a jazz band into the sound we have now,” he said. “I’ve had influence from George Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars.”

Williams’ earliest musical memory is of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band record that his mom gave him. He credits that one disc for opening his ears to music and making him want to play it, too.

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