Carol Williams has been the sax player for actor/musician Gary Sinise’s “Lt. Dan Band”, which has performed worldwide since early 2004, with USO tours to Asia, Europe and many cities in the US.
Originally from Chicago and rural Midwestern towns, Carol performed on keyboards, flute and vocals in local Chicago bands before moving to Boston to attend Berklee College of Music. After traveling with show bands on the East Coast, she spent seven years with the US Army band program as a sax player, and was the first woman musician ever to be selected for audition with the prestigious “Army Blues” jazz ensemble in Washington DC.
With a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts for performances and recording, Carol began her direction as a solo artist. Her recent full-band projects, (I Can Live With That and Letter From Chief Seattle) feature internationally renowned drummer Danny Gottlieb (formerly with Pat Metheny).
Since August, however, she has performed her signature composition “Empty Boots” at rallies and fundraisers throughout the Midwest, supporting such groups as Iraq Veterans against the War, Code Pink, Americans Against Escalation in Iraq, and United for Peace and Justice. Called “the best protest song so far about Iraq” by folksinger Kristin Lems, it has recieved radio play on folk and NPR stations this past fall and winter. She recently released the first of a new series of acoustic/contemporary folk CDs called “Empty Boots: Commentaries on War and Country”.
While her tenor sax and flute hint at her jazz background, her ensemble writing falls into the pop/rock world of singer-songwriter. Vocally, she has been compared to a combination of “Joni Mitchell, Rickie Lee Jones and Bonnie Raitt…..an original, a force cutting across all convenient categories”. As a solo performer, or with her full ensemble, her songs bring a “rarefied yet earthy” dimension to live music performance (Chuck Berg, Jazz Times).