“The Ebony Hillbillies” with two-time Grammy winner William Salter – on traditions and the modern in African-American music and on the creation of “Just The Two Of Us”
The five musicians from The Ebony Hillbillies keep alive the legacy that has been at the core of all American music - jazz, blues, bluegrass, rockabilly, rock and roll and country. They perform on period instruments songs that have been sung by African Americans back in the 18th century.Two-time Grammy winner William Salter is the bassist of the band. He won the prestigious award in 1980 for his hit Just The Two Of Us, performed by Bill Withers and Grover Washington, Jr. Jazz FM listeners had the unique opportunity to look behind the curtain of the creative process for this hit. “Just the two of us” is a phrase that is familiar to most people in just about any language. Whatever is happening – just the two of us; things that two people do together – could be partying, could be good times, could be bad times - experience. One of my partners came to me with the title – and I created the ideas that had to do with the phrase “just the two of us”. Then I added music to it. Now it is a singsong; it’s something that everybody can relate to. That fact that a quarter of a century later Just The Two Of Us continues to be a hit is a very pleasant surprise. The composition is one thing, but then important is also the person who delivers it – which is Mr. Bill Withers – a very popular singer. He wrote some of the words also. So, it was just the two of us,” William Salter told Jazz FM. Two years before Just The Two Of Us won the Grammy Award for best R&B song, William Salter got this award for producing the album of the year – The Bee Gees’ classic Saturday Night Fever.What William Salter shared about Just The Two Of Us, as well as what the five musicians from The Ebony Hillbillies said about their music – you can hear on Svetoslav Nikolov’s interview here.