Will Hobbs has been writing songs since the mid-1960s. He honed his early craft while hitchhiking on two continents during the ‘60s and ‘70s and refined it in subsequent years based on life experiences, extensive travel and interactions with other musicians. He plays a number of instruments, but when playing solo, generally sticks to the guitar, harmonica, mandolin and voice.
He has performed in 38 states and 21 countries, in venues ranging from Beatnik coffee houses and love-ins in the ‘60s and ‘70s, to taverns and college concert tours, county fairs, TV specials, festivals and rallies up to the present day. He performed at the Newport Folk Festival in 1967, harmonizing on stage with Judy Collins; he was a cash prize winner in the American Songwriting Festival in 1978, and more recently has won a number of awards for his lyrics and songs in local songwriting contests, placing second in the 2012 Woody Guthrie Songwriting Competition. He released his first solo CD in 2008, featuring 14 originals.
For 11 years, Will toured with Wheatfield, a popular Northwest band he cofounded. In 1972, they released a 45 of a war protest song he wrote, which garnered extensive airplay in several regional markets. Wheatfield recorded its first self-titled album in 1980, which was produced by the late legendary harmonica virtuoso Norton Buffalo. It received some regional airplay around the Northwest, and is still available in CD format. They completed a new CD called “Odyssey” in 2010. Wheatfield and its members were inducted into the Oregon Music Hall of Fame in October, 2011.
Besides performing solo, Will has a trio formed from the folk-roots nucleus of Wheatfield, called Woodlander. They play mostly original music with lots of harmony and instrumental variety. Woodlander released their first CD, titled “Oregon Routes,” in 2013; of its 15 songs, Will authored nine. Woodlander is currently recording its second CD, which will again feature many of Will’s original tunes.