What happens when you combine a fiery frontman with mad acoustic guitar skills and a cool as a cucumber super drummer? You get the Indie folk rock duo known simply as WiL.
Not one for school, ‘Billy’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.
WiL is perhaps known best for performing with his long time drummer Keith Gallant but sometimes adds an accompanying musician when the occasion presents itself. Whether, duo, trio or more, 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’. 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.
WiL’s sixth studio album, ‘The Gold Mine’ is out now on digital retailers worldwide. Stream/download here.