Willie Green's legendary musical career brought joy to our ears and expanded the hearts of every lover of the blues. Often called "The Real Deal", Willie lived the blues from the inside out, and only in his later years was he professionally recognized for his contribution to blues music.
Willie Green was born into a share cropping family in Pine Level, Alabama. He did not attend school and when he moved to Delray, Florida, he became a migrant farm worker. He started playing music in 1955 at house parties, farm camps, and sand floor jukes. Willie didn’t have an easy life—he was homeless on and off during the 80s and a substantial part of his life was affected by alcohol and drug abuse.
Today, Willie lives in Ocala, and has been sober for over a decade. Willie’s popularity as a musician started growing in the 90s with the help of some friends and professional management. Some of his biggest influences were Jimmy Reed, Muddy Waters, James Cotton, and Junior Wells, a few of whom Willie knew or met personally in the 50s and 60s. Three musicians have been recognized by the Florida State Museum of History for their contributions to music heritage: Ray Charles, Bo Diddley, and Willie Green. Willie was featured on the cover of the nationally circulated publication of Blues Festival Guide in 2010. He now regularly plays music at the Yearling Restaurant in Cross Creek, Florida.