Little Willie Farmer was born in 1956 in the small town of Duck Hill, MS. He grew up on a farm where his father raised cows, chickens, cotton and corn. On Sundays, he had the choice between picking cotton and going to church. He usually chose church. His uncles and father would entertain each other with blues and gospel songs when their work was done. Little Willie picked up the guitar as a child and began to teach himself how to play. His mother and father had differing attitudes about what music he should be playing. His mother preferring that Willie stick to gospel and his father secretly encouraging the boy to play the blues whenever mother was out of earshot.
As Little Willie was getting better and better, his father offered him a piece of advice, “don’t brag on yourself, if you’re playing it right, others will brag on you.” It was as much a lesson in humility as it was an advisory to his son to make sure news of his playing was slower to get back to his mother, who may have put a stop to it.
Little Willie began working in auto repair as a teenager and has operated his own shop for the past 44 years. On nights and weekends he travelled and performed in gospel quartet groups and at roadhouse music halls from Chicago, to Memphis, Clarkesdale and Montgomery.
In 2017, the Austrian blues label, Wolf, released Little Willie’s first album “I’m Coming Back Home.” On it, he alternates between acoustic and electric guitar, playing a style that closely resembles that of Lightnin’ Hopkins.
How We Helped:
Music Maker has been helping Little Willie Farmer with career development by producing videos and helping him get his passport so that he can play internationally.