Blake, along with music director Michael Thomas Murray at the keys, Oscar Bautista on guitar, Steve Kelly on drums, Mike Preen on bass, Matthew Polashek on sax and The Peaches (Ashley Betton, Shira Elias and Stephany Mora) on backup, will return to Birdland on August 20 at 7pm to once again celebrate the musical legacy of Etta James in Echoes of Etta. From her first #1 hit "The Wallflower (Roll With Me, Henry)" to her quintessential "At Last," this concert gives a glimpse into the extraordinary career of an amazing artist. In Echoes of Etta, William "transforms into a fiery, soulful tenor complete with gospel wails, hungry growls and unrestrained riffs" (Edge New York).
William Blake, "a shy young Texan with a powerful tenor" (LA Times), is a native of Dallas and has been performing professionally since the age of 19. As an actor, his regional musical theater credits include The Who's Tommy (Cousin Kevin), Chicago (Mary Sunshine), and The Rocky Horror Show (Riff Raff). In 2004, William released his first studio album, DayDreamer. Shortly after the release, William auditioned for the fourth season of "American Idol," and went on to compete in Hollywood. In early 2007, he made the move to New York City to continue his musical career and has since performed at such notable NYC venues as Don't Tell Mama, Uncle Charlie's, Metropolitan Room, Feinstein's at Loews Regency and Birdland Jazz Club. In 2010, William was honored to receive an invitation to sing at Carnegie Hall in Standard Time with Michael Feinstein. He also shared the stage with Liza Minnelli, Chita Rivera, Lucie Arnaz, and many others in The Best of Jim Caruso's Cast Party at The Town Hall last February. In May 2011, he enjoyed the release of his first live album, Live From New York City (2012 MAC Award Nominee with Cavern Records), which was recorded at Birdland in September 2010 (now available on iTunes).
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