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With a voice that conjures names like Ray LaMontagne and Ben Ottewell (Gomez), local hero William Mimnaugh, (stage name wiL) writes songs that push the boundaries of what is considered contemporary folk to include elements of old school country, pop, rock and blues.
Not one for school, wiL’s youth consisted of skateboarding and holing himself up listening to music; everything from the country twang of Chet Atkins to the raucous punk sound of The Sex Pistols but It wasn’t until 1998, after hearing the flagrant use of an overdrive pedal on an acoustic guitar in Neutral Milk Hotels ‘In an Aeroplane over the Sea’, that he really started refining and defining his sound and playing style, one that would capture the attention of label execs in 2003. Signing to EMI shortly after saw the re-release of his debut indie album Both Hands launching his career as a songwriter and touring musician yet it wasn’t until the release of an international tourism campaign by Travel Alberta that WiL’s music found a broader audience. His song ‘Roam’ instantly resonated with listeners across the globe and has become a standout signature track both digitally and on stage.
Known for playing mostly with ‘just a drummer’ wiL mesmerizes listeners with his unusual strumming technique while creating lush, fat and full acoustic guitar sounds that have become signature to the live experience’ but it has taken the better part 20 years to get there and he’s still not done. Fastidious. Yes. Meticulous. Yes. A.D.D.?? Probably, but it’s precisely this that has landed him some pretty cool gigs. Standouts include opening for soul legend Mavis Staples, Canadian Indie darling, Feist and one of his music heroes, Ray LaMontagne.
Although the past two years have been tough for musicians and the musical community in general, the time away from playing, for WiL at least, yielded a whole new album’s worth of deeply personal material. www.ibreakstrings.com
“The ease with which WiL explores a wide spectrum of themes and styles in his song writing shows a lifetime of fearless musicianship. His tunes are catchy but not overstated – a dynamic performer who effortlessly balances out moments of gritty intensity with moments so tender you swear you hear is heart beating through the microphone.” — Pique News magazine