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First Friday for Folk Music to kick off its 14th year
Drew Gibson 3
Drew Gibson will perform at the First Friday for Folk Music on July 3. - photo by Photo provided

The 157th “First Friday for Folk Music,” Savannah’s monthly showcase of local and touring folk musicians, will feature Judy and Zach Williams and Drew Gibson.

The show, kicking off the 14th year of “First Fridays,” begins at 7:30 p.m. on July 3 at First Presbyterian Church, 520 Washington Ave.

Drew Gibson is one of the most talented singer-songwriters to emerge recently from Virginia. Gibson crafts heartfelt lyrics that are confessional, personal and poetic — the kind of music that makes your heart ache.

Gibson is a talented blues musician with great vocals and songs. Reminiscent of an old Grog favorite, Ben Andrews, Gibson skillfully plays Delta blues with a great hook. Gibson reaches deep into his roots as an American musician and arrives at the blues on his own terms. He is true to his musical heritage, yet constantly redefining this legacy.

Judy Williams is a well-known, long-time Savannah folk singer whose strong voice and fine guitar playing are particularly notable. She often appears with her husband, Bob Williams, as a duo called Cynergy.

Developing a love for music, voice, guitar and composition in her teenage son, Judy appears at this First Friday with Zach Williams. Zach has competed and placed in the top three of the Savannah Folk Festival's Youth Songwriting Competition on multiple occasions. This will be the first mother-son performance at First Friday and promises to be most entertaining.

“I have been singing since I was 3, and harmonizing since age 6, when I sang with my three older sisters a four-part rendition of the theme from Oklahoma and won first prize at the Howard County (Md.) Fair’s talent show,” Judy Williams said. “Since then, I took five years of piano lessons (still don't play), but when my parents bought the family a guitar for Christmas (I was 11), I fell in love.

“I taught myself how to play, and at age 13 began co-writing songs with my sister, Debbie (age 15). We recorded 10 or 11 of them after a couple of years, and then kind of went our separate ways after we graduated high school.

“I began singing with choirs, and playing with several locals in Maryland, semi-pro. I had a good job during the day in the computer industry, so I couldn't just drop it and take my music ‘on the road.’

After I moved to Savannah with my second husband (Bob) at age 35 (1986), we played music as a side business, and participated with friends in what eventually became the Savannah Folk Music Society (Bob was the only one with a computer!).

“Zach began ‘making up’ songs at age 3, played a plastic guitar to accompany himself (as well as occasional ukulele, piano, and bongos), and when he was 14 we bought him a guitar for our driving vacation out west, Judy continues. “He expressed a little interest, but the first (and only) riff I ever taught him was the intro to ‘Sweet Home Alabama.’ From there, he just took the guitar and ran. The following year, at the Festival’s

Noteworthy Art auction, a friend of ours bought a guitar signed by Charlie Daniels. We were all shocked when he came backstage after he picked up the guitar —. and gave it to Zach!

“Zach (aka: Moose, as his buddies call him) has been creating songs and backing them up on his Charlie Daniels guitar since then. We bought him a steel guitar and a slide, which he uses, again having had no instruction.

“He even occasionally changes his tunings. He has entered the Savannah Folk Music’s Youth songwriting competitions three years in a row, winning prizes at two of them. I am in awe of his self-creative abilities, and am quite proud to perform with him in this,” his  mother said.

For more information, contact Hank Weisman at 786-603 or on the web,