Staff Pick: Members of Watershed, New Bomb Turks pay tribute to living local legend Willie Phoenix

Andy Downing, Columbus Alive

Enigmatic Columbus rocker Willie Phoenix has long been heralded by his fellow musicians. Writing in "Hitless Wonder," Watershed singer/bassist Joe Oestreich said, "He sang like Wilson Pickett, wore his Telecaster upside down like Hendrix, and had Elvis Costello's gift for cutting a pop gem. He didn't play second to James Brown when putting on a show. He's as good as we've ever seen."

Now Phoenix has inspired a host of local heavyweights, including singer/guitarist Colin Gawel (Watershed), bassist Matt Reber (New Bomb Turks), drummer Sam Brown (New Bomb Turks, Operators) and singer/guitarist Andy Harrison (Howlin' Maggie), to gather under the moniker of the Willie Phoenix Tribute Machine to pay tribute to his legacy. The newborn crew, which recently started streaming a handful of cover tunes via BandCamp, will be on hand at Little Rock on Thursday, March 5, for a listening party and to swap stories and throw back some pints. Visit for more information.

Little Rock Bar

6 p.m. Thursday, March 5

944 N. Fourth St., Italian Village