Willie Nininger moved to Connecticut in 2002 from Switzerland where he lived and performed music for several years, But before that, he was a mainstay of the New York City Folk and Country singer-songwriter scene, centered around Greenwich Village.In those days, Willie played frequently at Folk City, The Bottom Line and the Lone Star Cafe, sharing the stage with a variety of luminaries including Woodstock opener Richie Havens, the Country legend Ernest Tubb, The Flying Burrito Brothers, Jesse Colin Young (of the Youngbloods), Levon Helm and Rick Danko (of the Band) , John Sebastian (of the Lovin' Spoonful) and many others .During this time he also wrote songs for the Captain Kangaroo Show, appeared on the TV show Hee Haw,and sang the National Anthem for the New York Mets at Shea Stadium several times.
All three venues Willie used to play at are gone now, but on November 6th at the Cutting Room in Manhattan, the Lone Star Cafe is having a reunion hosted by Kinky Friedman, featuring many artists who used to frequent the club, including Willie. Willie says: "The Lone Star was an amazing honky tonk. It was right on 5th Avenue and had a huge papier-mache iguana on the roof. Although it was very strangely shaped , it was a great place to play and hang out-you never knew who was going to show up. One night when I was playing, I got a request from Keith Richards to play the Willie Nelson song "Blue Eyes Crying in the Rain"-and I didn't know it! I learned it pretty quickly after that. I'm really looking forward to the reunion; I haven't played in Manhattan for awhile and there will be a lot of musicians there whom I haven't seen for a long time. Larry Campbell, who has worked with Cyndi Lauper and Bob Dylan and used sit in with us when my dad Eugene was playing violin in our group, is going to help me out and my brother Jim (who was born in Fort Worth, Texas) will be there also."
On Saturday, November 2nd, Willie and his brother and Woodbury, CT native Jan Scruggs will be having a "warm up gig", playing for the 5th time at J&J's Country Tavern in Southbury (6-9PM). "We usually have a pretty good crowd there and I really like the acoustics of the room" Willie says.
Willie was recently interviewed by Xecutives.Net, The Swiss Management Network. Check out the interview HERE.