The Willing
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The Willing

Aurora, Illinois, United States | INDIE

Aurora, Illinois, United States | INDIE
Band Folk Acoustic


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Flawless Creativity"

Review Summary: The Willing have mastered the art of creating beautiful music due to years of experience in both the studio and in life. “Unfinished Business” is an album that encompasses years of creativity into a polished and professional 13 track masterpiece. Haunting, classically timeless, and with an exceptional sound, this album is guaranteed to please even the pickiest of listeners.

After reading the band bio on The Willing, I was expecting to hear some gritty old school classic rock, the kind that bad ass bikers like to drink beer to. And that sounded pretty good to me. I was looking forward to some bad ass music by some bad ass musicians.

So I popped that baby into my trusty Walkman and I was shockingly surprised to hear a calm and soothing melody that was the equivalent of having aloe rubbed onto a blistering sunburn. The album opens with the track “Sunrise” and it is not what I expected. I found myself listening to this piece over and over. It is only 1:22 in length, but it is a profound minute and 22 seconds.

“Sunrise” glides effortlessly into “Ultima Thule” and I am treated to an amazingly polished and professional sound. The Willing does an excellent job harmonizing on this piece and the vibe has a bit of a Pink Floyd feel to it, most particularly David Gilmour. The lyrics of “Ultima Thule” are clearly about the history of the band, and I know this because I read the bio, but I feel that I can relate to the lyrics as well because they can be applied to life in general. The song is very well written, the sound is nearly perfect, and I wait anxiously for the next track. Does it get even better?

Track three, “She’ll Be Running,” starts of with a guitar riff that reminds me of Tom Petty. This is where the resemblance ends though. This song is a love song that is brimming with confidence. It is not sappy, nor is it sad. It’s an upbeat little toe tapping number and I can envision this being played live with the crowd enthusiastically joining on the “Hey Hey Hey.”

“You Walk the Line” makes me think of an Irish Johnny Cash. I would dare say that this song is folk music done in modern day. I very much enjoy the simplicity of this piece with regards to instrumentation. This track clearly shows that The Willing has much talent and does not need to have many layers and distractions to make them sound good. Once again, the harmonizing is perfect and the sound is just stellar. This is a beautiful piece of music that could not possibly sound any better. Excellent musicianship, killer sound, and painfully haunting lyrics. Fantastically well done. This is one of the best songs I have ever heard. From anyone. Ever.

After the hauntingly beautiful “You Walk the Line,” I am wondering if The Willing can possibly top themselves and “Alexis You” is certainly not a disappointment. It has a different flair from anything I’ve heard on the album yet, and it has a slightly Spanish feel to it. This is a great dancing song and I would love to see it performed live.

“No Getting Away” is melodic and I get a better sense of what The Willing is capable of. Their talent is evident in this piece and I really like the rhythm, especially the change ups. They are smooth clean transitions. The guitar work on this track is excellent and the listener also gets a much better sense of the vocal range of the singer. This song is another perfect example of the culmination of what years of musical experience can do.

“Mary Anne’s On Fire” hits a little harder than any of the previous tracks. I’m getting a sense of the bad ass bikers that I mentioned above as I listen to this track. It’s intense and focused and a little gritty. I’m seeing the rock’n’roll side of this band and I like it. The drum beat is what carries this tune and the rest of the musicians flow seamlessly along, taking us on a ride of epic musical proportions. This song is bad ass. This is the classic hard hitting rock’n’roll that I was expecting when I first read about this band, and they do not disappoint.

If “Mary Anne’s On Fire” showed me the rocking side of The Willing, “Hold Me” shows the softer side. This classic ballad is exceedingly well done and it sounds fantastic. I love the singer’s voice in this track. He just hits it. And the guitar…… Oh, the guitar. It tugs ever so gently at the heart. What a beautiful song. This band is capable of just about anything, and “Hold Me” simply solidifies the fact that The Willing knows exactly what they’re doing and they do it amazingly well. Very nicely done.

“Only Love Can Change the World” has a bluesy rock feel and this is another song that would be great to see live. This is another dancing song. Definitely a foot tapping, finger snapping groove. This track has attitude. This track has balls. This track totally rocks and makes me want to strut when I walk. This track is also one more example of the sheer diversity and talent of The Willing. They continue to amaze me.

“Gone” tones it down a bit and it sounds like it’s another wonderful ballad. The piano in this piece is great and the power of this song is evident from the first few notes. The lyrics make me think and remember and feel something deep inside, something that has been dormant for some time. “Gone” is a sad song, but that’s what makes it so good. This is a true love song and the vocalist does an excellent job channeling so many deep feelings into words. The musicianship in this piece is extraordinary and each member of the band shines brightly.

The Willing picks it up a bit with “Queen of the City” and banishes away the sadness of “Gone.” This is another song with attitude and what I like to call “strut,” which is the feeling of being so damned COOL, just by listening to someone else’s coolness, if that makes any sense. “Queen of the City” has the signature The Willing sound, which is a little bit of everything musical. Once again, they show off their confidence, talent, and brass balls with this track. It doesn’t get much better than this.

“Surprise” is a harmonic, melodic treat for the ears AND the mind. The lyrics are very vivid and the imagery is phenomenal. I prefer to listen to this song with my eyes closed and simply let my mind wander to wherever The Willing takes it. It’s a very optimistic song with a positive vibe that makes me feel a sense of hope, not just for my OWN life, but for the rest of humanity as well. “Surprise” is an all around feel good song that leaves me with a rather large warm and fuzzy feeling for this band that will stick around for quite some time.

The closing track, “Evening,” ends the album the same way it began, with the calm and soothing melodies that feel like aloe on a sunburn. This is by far the most uplifting song on the entire album and it was the perfect choice to end it on. I am left with a feeling of peace and contentment, and that’s when I know I’ve just listened to something special.

The Willing has been making music for a long time, and they have mastered the art of creativity. “Unfinished Business” is the product of many years of experience, talent, and the undying love of music. This album clearly showcases the extraordinary talents of all members of the band and their accumulative efforts at putting forth one of the best sounding and most intricate albums I have heard in a long time. From the opening notes of “Sunrise” to the soft closing of “Evening,” The Willing have demonstrated that they have what so many bands strive for: Diversity, attitude, an excellent sound, smoothness, and above all, the ability to please music aficionados near and far, from every walk of life. This band knows exactly what they’re doing and they do it well. Cheers.
- Rhonda Readence


Still working on that hot first release.



In a world of mediocre melodies and less-than-inspired lyrics, there is more than enough room for cleverly crafted well sung songs. The Willing are ready & Willing to fill that void.

In its nearly three decade-long career, The Willing (originally called "Ultima Thule" in the 70s) has literally been there and back--from an IL garage to performing non stop to a break up & reforming with all six original members --and has come out of it all as a durable and successful American rock act.
The sextet was born in the 1970s playing a mix of Rock & Progressive music, always taking advantage of their strong vocal power. The band lived & rehearsed together in an old 14 bedroom house in Milwaukee Wis & toured throughout the Midwest refining their music performing original songs & covers by Crosby Stills Nash & Young, The Eagles, The Moody Blues & The Beatles. During the break up of The Willing, Kent Cooper, Rich Wigstone & David Angel went on to form CBS recording artists The Boyzz, but after The Boyzz dissolved rejoined the ranks of The Willing.

The band has numerous songwriters in its ranks in the forms of Rich Wigstone (Guitar / Vocals), John Krahenbuhl (Keyboards / Vocals), Chris Gough (Guitar), Dan Smith (Keyboards / Vocals), David Angel (Bass / Vocals), & Kent Cooper (Drums / Vocals). With five songwriters, The Willing are never at a loss for new material! The Band follows the tradition started by The Beatles of having multiple lead singers & combinations of backup singers, but through it all, they have always sounded like The Willing.
(Think Crosby Stills Nash & Young meet The Eagles meet Tom Petty's rhythm section with a slight pinch of Pink Floyd!)

These six close friends continue to score with new fans focusing on their strong vocal harmony work & clever songs. The Willing just finished their new studio recording. “Unfinished Business” is a new full length CD released on Rave Song Records! The new CD is exploding with a powerful rhythm section, the soaring vocal power of five part harmony & all wrapped up in catchy well written songs with memorable melodies!