PANAMA - Chalan Williamson, a Panama native who has traveled extensively as an international musician, has returned from abroad to perform a series of shows.
Williamson's final performance before heading to Denmark to complete his first studio album of original tunes is set for 9:30 p.m., Friday, Sept. 13, at The Good Time Saloon in Jamestown.
According to Williamson, a 1999 graduate of Panama Central School, he spent his youth growing up in a rural Chautauqua County community where he picked up the guitar out of curiosity and boredom, he said.
"There was really nothing to do where I came from," Williamson said. "My nearest neighbor was a half-mile down the road, and he was a farmer. So, I didn't have much to do other than learn to play music."
Although some of Williamson's favorite youthful memories were made backpacking, hiking and fishing in places such as the Chautauqua Gorge, many of his first gigs weren't in the area; rather he headed to Houston, Texas and North Carolina. He later began performing gigs in areas such as: Jamestown, Bradford, Pittsburgh and Philadelphia. Then in 2005, he got the opportunity to head overseas, and has since played hundreds of shows abroad, he said.
"I ran with it - and it snowballed," Williamson said. "I started out in Switzerland, then went to Denmark, and before I knew it I was in Finland, Sweden, Australia, China and Europe. While in Brisbane, Sydney, and Surfers Paradise, I found myself saying aloud, 'This is the best time of my life'"
One of the major reasons why Williamson enjoys touring abroad is because the audiences are very receptive to his music, both covers and originals, he said.
"They respect a wide variety of music, which is important to me because I know about 850-900 songs," Williamson said. "I feel like I can entertain a lot of different audiences. I try to make everybody happy, which is very difficult, but I always take requests because you can't read people's minds. Even if you don't know what they want to hear, you have to figure out what kind of music they want to hear. "
The most popular genres Williamson found that audiences would request include blues and Southern rock. And, because he had a large selection of covers to choose from, he was able to keep the majority of his listeners happy.
"I do have a way of making the most mundane songs my own," Williamson said. "You can play (a tune repeatedly), but if you can find a way to play it the way you like to play it - it becomes different altogether. Let's face it, if they wanted to hear the record they'd go home and turn on the radio. So, you have to make everything your own to a point when doing cover tunes."
In addition to creating some unique cover versions of tunes, Williamson has also been working with Rasmus Erhnborn, a drummer, guitarist and producer from Sweden, who has helped record several songs. One of Williamson's favorites tunes he has recorded so far is called "Leaving You." He has also recorded tunes called "Sixty-Eight Nights," "Goodbye" and "I Suppose." The songs will appear on the upcoming album that Williamson said he expects to be released within the next six months.
The Good Time Saloon is located at 590 Fairmount Ave. in Jamestown. For more information, search for "Chalan Williamson" on Facebook or YouTube.