Willie Samuelson was born in Gary, Indiana around the time that Rock and Roll was starting. He took piano lessons after seeing the "Beatles" but wanted to play the guitar. Upon entering 7th Grade, he started playing upright bass in the Jr High Orchestra and played that through High School. After one year of playing the stand up, he got his first electric bass. Willie played with several rock bands through High School as well as the Orchestra, Symphonic Band, Choir, and Jazz Band. After High School Willie worked in a steel mill for about 1 1/2 years. His cousins in Springfield, Illinois (Hank and Jeff Helton) had a band and they were looking for a bassist. Willie moved to Springfield to fill their need. After 2 years with "The Helton Brothers Band", he joined up with Greg and Robert Pasenko. The keyboardist in that band (The Fat Tuesday Band) was Bobby McFerrin. Bobby taught Willie some valuable lessons regarding groove and time. Bobby left the band and moved to L.A. The band played some large concerts, opening for "Rush", "Leslie West" (Mountain) and "Head East". While Willie was living in Springfield, Adrian Belew moved his family to town. Willie did some jamming with him and Adrian even sat in on drums once (he plays a mean shuffle)
Willie eventual met a guitarist name Greg Richards, who convinced Willie that they should move to Colorado because there were lots of resorts that had bands playing all the time. He moved, along with Greg to Central City, Colorado (pre gambling) where they both played at "The Tollgate Saloon". The second year there, the band decided it would be a good thing to play weekends only. The schedule was from noon until the club closed, like 1:30 am. Taking breaks one at a time, the music never stopped. After two years at "The Tollgate", Greg and Willie joined "The Full House Band" and played at all of the ski areas in various clubs and even played a week at "The Grand Canyon". "The Full House Band" played regularly in Steamboat Springs and Willie decided to move to Steamboat. After moving to Steamboat and making one more trip back to Central City to play for a summer, Willie joined up with Greg Scott and Thom Ward, the band was called "Whitfield Ward". That band played several times at "The Million Dollar Cowboy Bar" and "the Mangey Moose" in Jackson, Wyoming as well as "The Tugboat" in Steamboat. After recording an album with John McEuen (Nitty Gritty Dirt Band), the band played in Reno, NV with Hayden Nicholas (guitarist and song writer for Clint Black) and Dick Gay (drummer for Clint Black). Willie was asked twice to be Clint Black's bassist but Jake remained with the band. Tania Tucker would sit in with "Whitfield Ward" when she came to Steamboat and got the boys booked on "Hee Haw". They moved to Nashville the summer of 1987. After recording the "Hee Haw Show", things didn't progress for the band. Willie landed a house band gig at "The Aregis Lounge" where David Fontana was the drummer (son of DJ Fontana-drummer for Elvis). DJ came in occasionally and sat in as well as other musicians from Nashville based bands. After about 10 months in that gig, Willie became Tom T Hall's bassist and toured with him for 5 months in 1988.
Willie toured the US, Canada, England, Ireland, and played "The Grand Ole Opry" as well as several television shows.
In September 1988, Willie decided to move back to Steamboat where he immediately joined the "Out of the Blues Band". They played every Sunday and Monday at the "Old Town Pub". That gig lasted for 3 years and the final year included Bob Steeler on drums (drummer from "Hot Tuna"). Greg Scott moved back to Steamboat and Willie was again playing bass with Greg.
"Whitfield Ward" got back together to do several gigs.
Keller Williams lived in Steamboat Springs in the late 1990s and Willie was bass player for Keller's band, "Acoustalunatical". In 2000, Willie played with Stephanie Davis (singer/song writer) and played a one night gig in Switzerland for the International Country Music Festival in Zurich, as well as a few gigs in Montana. Greg Scott got booked at the "USSA" house in Park City, Utah for the 2002 Olympics and, along with Jon Gibbs, they played for several nights there. Greg's band became known as "The Smokehouse Band" and played at two of Michael Martin Murphy's "West Fest". Also during this time Willie played bass with "the Randy Warmouth Trio" and the 50's 60's rock band "Flashback". Flashback was also the band for "Cabaret" from late 90's to mid 2K's. While playing with Jon Gibbs, the band "Worried Men" was created playing Grateful Dead and Willie Nelson covers, with some Johnny Cash and Allman Bros. thrown in. They played for two years at the "Old Town Pub" and then seven years at "Mahogany Ridge" as well as "The Tugboat Saloon" in Steamboat. Also during that time they kept playing with Greg until his untimely death in 2009. Dan Caro moved to Steamboat in 2009 and Willie joined with him to be the rhythm section for the "Bryan Joyce Band".
Willie plays all over Steamboat in several different bands and different styles of music, including "The Steamboat Christian Center" (Contemporary Christian Rock), "Three Peaks Grill" (jazz with Rick St. Pierre on piano), the band "Ragweed" (bluegrass), , Me and Ed's Music Machine" (jam rock) Bob Weir sat in with that band," Jay Roemer and Friends" (bluegrass), "Throwdown" (classic rock), and has been music director for four years for The Arts Council (now called "Steamboat Creates) fund raising event "Cabaret". Willie played bass with the short lived band "Small Town World. That band played music from the world doing songs with lyrics in Spanish, French, and English. Most recently, Willie has been playing bass with "Constant Change". This band plays a variety of Country and Rock classics that works very well for private functions as well as clubs. Willie's steady gigs are "Three Peaks Grill" every Friday and the "Steamboat Christian Center" every other weekend (Saturday night, Sunday morning, and Monday night)
Willie will keep playing bass with whoever calls.