By: Tonya Jackson
When Will Easley comes home, despite the threat of severe weather, the crowd shows up. On Thursday, March 3rd Pensacola’s own, Will Easley, came to town and gave his hometown fans a special treat with a pre-weekend performance at the historic Belmont-DeVilliers Culture Center. Also, on the ticket were comedian Mz WallSt and local newcomer Frankie. This concert is that start of a new series of entertainment for Pensacola, as the Blues Hound from 106.9 Choice FM/980 FM shared, “you know where to come and have fun on a Thursday night.”
Pausing to speak with me before her performance, Mz WallSt, shared the origins of her name. “I got all these assets. When I was 20 I was a fly girl, at 30 they called me a brick house, now I’m a mini mansion. I started from the bottom, now I’m here.” WallSt explained that in her male-dominated profession there is a lot of competition, but as a clean artist, she can get in places others cannot. Yes, that includes performing church comedy. “Comedy for me is a joy,” she states. While it was her opportunity to tell me about upcoming dates and projects, instead she choose to share with me how honored she feels to be performing with the legendary Mr. Will Easley. To learn more about this funny lady and you can find her all over social media as Mz WallSt.
Graciously Easley started the evening with greeting everyone in attendance like they were visitors to his home. When Easley took to the stage, his fans treated him like family and showed him a lot of love as he rewarded them by singing some of their favorite hits and remaining close to them during his performance. He sang and danced with more than one excited fan. As a vocal chameleon, during his show, he transitioned from r & b to country to blues effortlessly.
After his performance, the 42-year music veteran sat down to talk to me. Easley started singing at Antioch Baptist Church in the children’s choir. He was a police officer for about 14 years and would sing on the weekends. His first professional show was 1969 at the former Pensacola Municipal Auditorium, he opened for Charlie Pride. That was just the start of many opportunities to open for great artists. After about 15 years of country music, I got to a point that I wanted to do something different. I wanted to bring it back home.” The desire to “bring it back home” led him to blues music.
At 61 Easley performs in small venues and before crowds of over 4000, but “I feel better when I sing in front of the hometown people than I do anywhere in the world. I know in other cities they come to see me because they think I’m good, at home they come to see me because they love me. They love my singing, but they come to hug me and tell me they love me. It’s just good to feel that love.”
How telling of his character that with all he has done, he wishes his mom were around to see the result of all his hard work. “I keep going at it because I don’t want to let her down.” Mom, like so many of us, would be proud.