"Basically, when people are in a room together, the musician and the audience are witnessing the same thing from different perspectives," Porter said during a phone interview in advance of his performance at
"I like to think that the relationship between an audience and musician is sacred," Porter said. "Watching can't be replaced with
Although you can find Porter and singer-songwriter partner
All the better to experience the
The concert "covers a log of ground, from blues to rock 'n' roll to American folk," said Porter, who has become a popular draw during previous Pump House appearances.
Porter has toured with rock bands and opened for an impressive roster of musicians, including
Amos has been quoted as saying, ""Willy plays rhythms that make me want to crawl inside his guitar and sleep there forever."
Porter said he first noted music "way back in the day when I first heard the Jackson 5 as a little kid. It was a shocker. I saw this as a game-changer, life-changing, even though at 4, I didn't know it."
These days, Porter is a fan of all musical genres, although he noted, "I can't say I can get with the hip-hop. I like the music production, but the lyrics are lacking.
"I'm a sampler," he said casually in his warm, soothing voice.
Porter will offer another sample this year in "Human Kindness," his first CD since his highly successful "Cheeseburgers and Gasoline" in 2012.
"I still believe in albums. I believe we need to have connections -- even if it's just for me," he said.
"I like the nature of the songs," he said. "They were recorded in my house, and we didn't do anything over if a note was off. They have the human part. The album is real -- it hasn't been digitized. It is a lot more acoustic."
One of his favorite titles on the album is "Walking With the Man," he said, explaining that the Man is God, "It's really about a spiritual quest -- what it means to be a Christian, really about walking in faith."
Another is "Every Day Is a Holiday," which Porter said is about "the universal nature of faith and how it's impossible to separate from anybody else's directive, whether it's Muslim, or Christian, or other.
"We're so hung up on what's different instead of what makes us similar," said Porter, who describes himself as a "struggling seeker" and follower of Christ who attends a
Asked whether his children might follow his musical path, he said 10-year-old Liam seems inclined toward engineering. "He is so good with technology, I think he'll be in the engineering field."
Meanwhile, 13-year-old Lizbeth "might prefer acting," he said. "She is really into improv and attending workshops at First Stage," a
"She's sort of dragging us into it," Porter said, laughing, as he listed
"She's pulled us into that circle of thespians," he said. "I'm scoring a
The play, "
Porter undoubtedly will be able to tell The Pump House audience how it went -- if asked, because he just doesn't seem like the type to brag.
If Porter had the opportunity to reprise his career, he said, "I might have taken more time to write instead of chasing labels. They call it the music business because it is a business ... but music has to have its own life forms."
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