By J. Christopher Caravello
When a band’s labelled a “jam band” — either self-proclaimed or by the listening public — sometimes there’s a misnomer that they aren’t to be taken toooo seriously as artists. That certainly can’t be applied to Cadillac Willy though, as the band not only draws huge party crowds at every venue, but they also land plenty of awards and accolades for their lively performances.
“We’re proud of the awards,” said singer Metz Barnes. “We can’t believe we won them, but we’re proud of them. As long as we can make people dance and have a good time, that’s what we’re about.”
As winners of the 2012 Beachcomber Music Award for “Best Jam Band” (as well as clinching several other categories), Cadillac Willy’s rocked the Emerald Coast for twelve boogie-filled years. Founded in 2000 by Louie Antoon and Clayton Bonjean, the band consists of local musicians and draws its influences from the Gulf Coast scene, and especially New Orleans (think “Galactic”). The band’s ever-evolving set list features a wide library of tunes, including covers ranging from Lynyrd Skynyrd to Bob Dylan to Black Sabbath.
In addition to Barnes, Antoon (percussion), and Bonjean (lead guitar), the band’s somewhat fluid line-up also includes Patrick Wilson on pedal steel, John Mark Turner on bass, Shawn “Shack” Shackelford on drums and John David Sullivan on guitar.
Cadillac Willy can be found rocking many local hot spots such as Pandora’s, Red Bar, the Alys Beach amphitheater and both Funky Blues Shack locations (Destin and Baytowne). Upcoming shows are featured on Cadillac Willy’s official website, as well as on 30A.com’s daily events calendar.