In his world, Bill “Spider” Powell is a Mississippi “bluesman” playing in a Kansas bluegrass band. More entertainer than instrumentalist, he plays his three chords and the truth on multiple instruments in the bluegrass, americana, acoustic blues and western swing genres. Bill plays the upright bass (Willie Dixon style) in the Kaw Mountain Band, a conspirancy of Walnut Valley Festival pals. Bill contributes vocals & harmonies, vintage ties and eclectic material from the 30’s, 40’s & 50’s. In case you were wondering, the ”Spider” moniker is from his dorm “wall walking” days at the University of Missouri.
Bill began his musical insurgency in St. Louis with a transistor radio under his pillow tuned to the Night Beat Down Rhythm Street show on KATZ-1600AM. In college, he mobilized a dusty, ¾ size Stella and Peter, Paul & Mary songbook from the frat house attic and learned to play while in the Navy. During the “Disco” era he found bluegrass music and, astonishingly, won the talent competition at his hometown July 4th festival. Years of garage jams later, he found his mojo playing upright bass for the roots band Brookside Express that won the 2009 Downtown Kansas City Arts Council “best in Show”award. Fittingly, the master of ceremonies warned the audience before the show - “don’t encourage him”!