My journey with Will Endebrock began in what was the first easing of the Covid pandemic. During the summer of 2020 I was taking full advantage of any safe outdoor opportunities to play music that I could find, including multiple private parties. The first time I met Will we talked at length about music, and he shared his passion for violin and mandolin and let me know that he was available anytime I might need. Will's story was an eye opening realization that many musicians out there completely lost what was their therapy, their medication, and their lifeline to their mental sanity when Covid slammed the doors on life as we knew it. At this point I was also beginning my journey into life as a solo musician, and I was yearning for any opportunity I could get to play with new musicians. Thankfully, the moment would soon come where Will and I would get to share the stage and play music together.
I was asked to play a private birthday party for my dear friend Geraldine in September of 2020, put together by another dear friend of mine named Jim. I got word Will would be attending as well so I made sure he brought his arsenal of instruments. We played many communal standard covers from the Grateful Dead and others, but I was most excited and honored that Will was willing to play on some of my original songs as well. He provided awesome mandolin parts for a song called My Destruction, as well as violin on two songs that would come to be a part of my Crooked Tree album, Say Goodbye and War That Can't Be Won. Keep in mind not only did Will not know how to play them, to this point not many people have even heard the songs so it was quite a monumental task for any musician, but we were among friends and Will is a professional so caution was thrown to the wind and off we went! Will went on to nail each song like he'd been playing them for years, but it was his solo in War That Can't Be Won that truly captivated my heart. It is a song about (you guessed it) war, and the pain and suffering it causes. War's can't be won, period. When it came time for the solo section I realized that I had no idea what to do in the moment for myself except play the rhythm, and I turned to Will and gave him the nod that the solo (in a song he'd never even heard before lol) would be his to take. In all my mental iterations of the song up to that point I always envisioned the solo as representation of bombs and destruction, chaos on an instrument. Think Jimi Hendrix's Machine Gun. Will went the exact opposite. He dove right into the most tender and heartfelt violin solo representing (to me) the pain and anguish of war. His lead sounded like the cries of mother's losing their children, the pain of people losing their homes, the sadness of what is inevitably the destruction left behind war. Right there in the moment it was pulling my heart right out of my chest and I was truly moved by it. As the night came to a close Will and I went our separate ways, vowing to keep in touch in hopes we might have an opportunity to make music together again.
In June of 2021 I was celebrating Father's Day, and in a quiet moment something happened that had not in quite some time. I wrote a song. I had been so busy with Send The Flowers and various live projects that writing took a backseat for a while. Each year Father's Day comes and goes and I try to immerse myself in celebrating my children and family, but also trying not to let the day bring me down. I lost my father in the fall of 2008. He was 51 years old and died suddenly of a heart attack. As much as Father's Day represents so much that I love, it also brings the painful reminder that my father was gone far too soon. What eventually came forth was a song called The Storm. I just let out the pain and resentment I had not faced in years come out on paper. As I completed the demo I knew right away what it was I needed to hear on the song, and I knew Will was the man to do it.
To me, Will's violin represents the voice of my father throughout the song. Mournfully calling out in moments, adding such depth and emotion to the song that I couldn't even fathom listening to the song without it. But what really made our recording session special was our shared devotion to the beauty of the universe, God, and the world around us. Conversations that made it ever clearer why God put us together and brought us to this project. The Storm delayed the Send The Flowers project quite a bit, but it truly is worth the wait and I'm so proud to have this piece represent my relationship with my dad and be a part of the album. I am also so proud for the opportunity to work with Will and most of all to call him my friend.
If you are a musician looking for someone who can play just about any stringed instrument you can imagine, I highly recommend reaching out to Will Endebrock! You'll be glad you did!