Rock On: Fruitland Native Carter Williams Performs with Vann Britt at Fruitland Fun Day

Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert
Margaret Hurlbert works as the Editor of Discover Muscatine Newspaper.

Muscatine Living

At Fruitland Fun Day, the city celebrates the things that make it unique and invites the rest of Muscatine County to join in. To add to this year’s fun, one of Fruitland’s very own residents, Carter Williams, and his band, Vann Britt, performed. Along with giving music lovers an enjoyable evening, the concert showcased the passion and talent Williams developed for music right in his home town.

Williams interest in music goes back to his elementary school days when he started taking piano lessons. However, a hankering to play guitar in his mid teens reignited his interest and eventually let him to found Vann Britt. He remembers, “ I went ahead and bought one when I was about fifteen, despite people advising me against it. . . . I loved early [Johnny] Cash, but eventually got bored with the old style picking, I worked up to the 60s and fell in love with Hendrix, [and] told myself I wanted to be able to get the tones that were coming from his guitar.”

At about the same time, Williams started playing in a country band with drummer Ben Roberson, and the duo eventually decided to switch to more psychedelic rock and founded Vann Britt. Williams detailed, “I didn’t even know how to play the guitar when we met, but over time he saw my interested in Hendrix and he agreed to hop on board and ride it out with me. We’ve gone through many other members throughout time, but him and I have been pretty consistent, he only took a break for a year or so, otherwise we’ve always been together.”As Vann Britt’s popularity grew, the group has added another consistent member, Will Hagen. A keyboard player, Williams appreciates the different sounds he brings to the group.

In the years Vann Britt has performed together (Williams started it while in high school and continues to keep it alive now that he attends University of Northern Iowa), the group has played at numerous events, from gigs at local bars to festivals large and small. At each event, Williams and the other members of Vann Britt enjoy reuniting, and jamming together for the audience to enjoy. “Being in Cedar Falls, we don’t have enough time to play together. It’s usually the case that the time off actually helps us in a strange way. . . . That’s the best part about us; some might call us a jam band, [but] it’s really just that we’re always on the same tracks moving in the same direction. We can always read each other and always know the direction the other wants to go,” explained Williams.

Through it all, Williams had a special appreciation for getting to play at Fruitland Fun Day. “Fruitland is . . . my home town–I grew up just down the road from the park, and I can remember the festival in my earliest memories. It’s always a good time, with a lot of good people, We usually catch a lot of good vibes from the audience there.”

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