If you think about it, whether you’re a visual or auditory artist, or author, it’s about the conversation with your audience. Oddly, you may not be immediately included in the conversation but without recognizing it you’re forgotten quickly. We continually hear advice to listen twice as much as we speak and the reason is simple: it’s the only way to stay open. If you’re curious your work is vibrant; you’re vibrant. In clip 1 of this 2 part interview, you can feel Will’s passion for listening.Visit the Official Will McFarlane site.
It’s hard to imagine how many 12 year old young men watched the Beatles on The Ed Sullivan Show in 1963 and were inspired to pick up the guitar saying, “I want to do that”. Many, I’m sure. Voice lessons at six years old and piano a year later, young Will was clearly better primed than most.
Motown’s R&B captured Will’s imagination in High School while growing up on Long Island, which helped him develop as a fine rhythm guitarist.
Bonnie Raitt enlisted the 23 year old college escapee McFarlane as a member of her band one night when she heard him play at a Cambridge, MA night club. He toured with her band from 1974 – 1980 before leaving the road to move into the studio.
While with The Bonnie Raitt band, Will shared stages with living blues and folk legends. That’ll do wonders for your playing but more importantly, Will learned to listen for what guitar licks to leave out to best play up the band.
In 1980 Will McFarlane joined the famed “Swampers”; He moved to Muscle Shoals, Alabama to play and learn from Jimmy Johnson and the boys. Bobby Blue Bland, Little Milton, Etta James and Johnnie Taylor are a few that get off hand mention as clients of Muscle Shoals Sound.
Since 2001, Will McFarlane, his Wife Janet, their three children, and five grand kids all live in North Carolina’s Triangle Region. The Will McFarlane Band plays regionally but Will continues his studio work in Nashville and Muscle Shoals as well as live gigs both nationally and abroad.