I was moved to tears. I wish I could paint the way Will plays. Virtuoso doesn’t even describe the feeling of hearing him play. He does not depend however upon his gift, but he practices…A LOT. Last Sunday he practiced for 10 hours straight, and then played a gig at night. He averages about 5 hours a day. I asked Will why he didn’t go to Juliard or some other music school, simply stated he said, “I’m from South Austin.”

Will grew up with a guitar in hand. His father is an accomplished player as well, and Will kept time and played rhythm until his scales were second nature. Will started playing professionally while still in high school and has never looked back. It is hard to describe what it was like to listen and participate with the cast of musicians that dropped by Will’s house, but in a word…humbling. Will does things with a guitar that evidences his complete mastery of the form. Similar to when Wayne Gretzky threw a puck in from the back of the net, Will having no wammy bar, bent the neck instead. That blew my mind. When asked why he played on the fret board with his right hand (picking hand) he said, “It just seemed like the easiest way to get the sound I wanted”, with all humility.

Will Knaak

While Will, Rob, and Kenny’s artistry made me feel as if I were meeting Jimmie Hendrix in 1965, James Taylor in 1967, and Pat Metheny in 1990, it was their openness to all musicians of varying levels that proved their graciousness, i.e. they let me play. However, it was why they play that effected me the most. Simply stated, they feel that it is their responsibility to share the music. Each time they play it is like a prayer being offered for all of humanity. Playing music brightens the world of all who listen…it is their duty.

However, Will’s compassion didn’t end there. He had food poisoning all day the day we visited. But, he still went out of his way to accommodate a house full of guests. He shopped, grilled, and prepared food for all who were in attendance, and served us all with his normal genial smile. I told him that after listening to the ensemble jam, I felt as if I’d been hugged…blessed really. What an example for us all.

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