There's going to be a bit of Motown mixed with original songs this weekend at the Center for Spiritual Living, 3755 Willow Creek Road, as Eddie Watkins Jr. performs with Gigi Gonaway and local performers Jackson Rauch and Drew Hall. A bass player, Watkins has played in recording sessions with notable artists such as Marvin Gaye, Peter Frampton, The Temptations and Santana.
Watkins has been performing since he was 7 years old when his grandmother bought him a piano. He said she hired him soon after to play for her and a group of her friends, joking that "my career started when I was 7 years old, and she set me up early."
Though he has played in recording sessions with several famous artists, Watkins said he sees those sessions as just going to work every day. His job is playing bass in a recording studio, he added. However, Watkins has picked up a variety of techniques over the years, which he's bringing to Prescott. The performance is at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 21. Admission is $15.
Raised on the Motown sound, Watkins stated the concert is like a trip into the Motown & Miracles Time Machine, featuring songs by the Four Tops, Temptations, Smokey Robinson and the Miracles and more. But he's also going to be playing some original songs, adding his inspiration comes from his family, which he called very religious.
"I had a lot of different perspectives on spirituality," Watkins said of growing up, adding that inspiration also comes from observing life. "That's what I try to write about."
Watkins said he faces the same issues everybody else does and those issues are expressed better through song. But what really keeps Watkins going is the lyrical content and the way it moves people to positive emotions.
Performing with Watkins is Hall, member of local band The Cheek Tones. Hall said his inclusion in the performance came when Rauch was looking for a guitar player and Hall is well known around Prescott.
"People know me as a performer," Hall said. "He knew me from around town."
Like Watkins, Hall grew up with the Motown sound, and was introduced to it by his mother. Hall said he's excited about performing with Watkins and Gonaway and getting to play music with musicians who have a lot of experience with the industry. He called it a chance to see the hometown boys play music with the big dogs.
But Watkins won't be only performing music. At 10:30 a.m. Sunday, Nov. 22, Watkins will give a talk on "The Attitude of Gratitude." He will touch on personal experiences and the way faith and gratitude walk hand in hand.
By Jason Wheeler. Follow reporter Jason Wheeler on Twitter @PrescottWheels. Reach him at 928-445-3333 ext. 2037 or at 928-642-5277.