Jason "Lefty" Williams is not himself these days.
"I'm musically schizophrenic," says the Atlanta native. "It's real hard for me to settle down and do just one style." His latest CD, Snake Oil, is an attempt to focus on the blues. On his previous release, Big Plans, Williams bounced from jazz to funk to soul to rock to blues. "This is my attempt to sticking to one genre," he laughs.
Still, there's a Southern-rock vibe to "Thank You," with Williams sounding like Wet Willie's Jimmy Hall, and a downright countrified feel on the Delbert McClinton-flavored "You Had to be Right."
But blues takes center stage, along with Williams' unique playing style. Born without a right hand, the guitarist uses a homemade strap-on device that enables him to pick as fluently as any two-hander. "I never really embraced it before because it always seemed to make the other members of the band uncomfortable," he says. "The other members of the band would be like, 'I don't want to mention it, I don't want people to recognize us for that reason.'"
This time out, it's called the Lefty Williams band, and the gloves are off. "I decided when I was doing my own thing, it's just who I am – there's no point in running from it."
The payback comes when Williams goes out to talk to the crowd between sets. "They won't believe that I'm the same guy they saw onstage. And when I get back onstage, they're like, 'Oh my God! He wasn't kidding!" he says. "I get that all the time."