From the time WiL Mimnaugh can remember he was sitting in on ‘The Friday Night Garage Sessions’ where his parents would gather friends and jam to the likes of Johnny Cash, Chet Atkins and Hank Williams. Before reaching his teens he would sit for hours practicing on his fathers old Yamaki. Noting his son’s aptitude, ‘Billy’ woke on Christmas morning 1981 to find his very own ‘Fender Acoustic’ sitting under the tree.
Never one to love school, he headed to Vancouver to try his hand as a chalkboard artist for restaurants like Earls but music was never far from his mind so he decided it was time to head home to Calgary. An impromptu acoustic performance for a birthday song at The Barley Mill Pub led to his first gig and soon enough he was playing his favorite covers to a packed house five nights a week—being the early ‘90s that meant Nirvana, Jeff Buckley, Pearl Jam and Radiohead but one day he simply decided he needed to write his own music. In 2002 WiL released his debut album Both Hands and sold 6000 copies off stage in its first year leading to three WCMA’s nominations including a nod for ‘Producer’ and ‘Best Live Act’ which allowed him to tour for the next three years with bands like Colin James, Xavier Rudd, The Tea Party and Matthew Good among others.
WiL first became intrigued with the “idea” of writing for film in October 2008, when the original track, ‘Big Life’ was placed in a pivotal hospital scene in the ABC TV series, ‘Eli Stone’ yet it was while recording his 3rd and independent album, ‘In This Together’ in 2009 and working with producer and commercial composer Bruce Leitl that WiL really started coming into his own as a songwriter. The pairing, by his friend and music mentor Dan McManus, was initiated in order to help further develop his songwriting skills and melody structure. Tragically, Bruce passed away before the album was finished yet WiL admits with a smile that “Bruce was the Porsche and I was the pickup. He and I had vastly different musical tastes but differences aside he helped me become a better songwriter.
And so, in 2011 WiL’s original song ‘Roam’ was chosen to represent Travel Alberta’s award winning ad campaign ‘Remember To Breathe’. Shortly afterward, he was commissioned to compose the theme song (called Ride) for the Calgary Stampede’s 100th anniversary. The flagship video ‘Alberta’ featuring ‘Roam’ won the Diamond Award in 2012 for Best Overall Entry at ITB Berlin (considered the OSCARS of International Travel and Tourism Industry) and 3 awards in 2013 including Gold for the video ‘Summer’, featuring WiL’s brand new song ‘There Is’. WiL is currently working on his 5th studio album but will take a break in October and then select dates through November and December to tour in support of a much anticipated live album aptly titled WiL-Live at the IronwooD
The Rock of the Woods (ROTW) music festival is announcing a hiatus
The Rock of the Woods (ROTW) music festival is announcing a hiatus to reflect on its founding goals and evaluate support for music and cultural festivals in the Cowichan Valley. “Our small festival has always been dedicated to developing and fostering arts and culture within the Cowichan Valley. After six years of giving our all to the festival we feel it is time to take a break and look at how Rock of the Woods can move ahead,” said David Bain, Festival Director.
ROTW has been held in the Cowichan Valley since 2010, without incident. After four years of changing permit processes, ROTW moved through a new Cowichan Valley Regional District (CVRD) process beginning in 2014. Unfortunately, the length and uncertainty of this process brought a focus on permitting rather than on the festival’s efforts to support local artists and businesses. Rock of the Woods believes that a hiatus will provide an opportunity to make up for this lost time and assess the festival’s operations and offerings.
“With a volunteer festival team the lengthy permitting process meant we were unable to provide certainty to our team and allow them to focus on developing the festival. We would like to thank our many supporters and the amazing festival community that has made Rock of the Woods an event so many people look forward to each year.” said Bain.