Musicians Hall of Fame member Will McFarlane will make two appearances in Chautauqua County in May, while on his way to the Christian Musician's Summit in Buffalo. On Tuesday, he will conduct an electric guitar clinic at Trinity Guitars in Jamestown, and will the special guest at Hurlbut Church's Midweek Vespers on Wednesday.
McFarlane spent six years playing guitar with Bonnie Raitt, from 1974 to 1980. McFarlane says he learned how to "listen" as well as play while in Raitt's band. His musical education was a versatile one, encompassing straight blues, country blues, folk, country, rock 'n' roll, as well as singer-songwriter material. Raitt was sharing stages with living blues legends, and McFarlane soaked up as much as he could from them before and after the gigs.
He left Raitt to move to Muscle Shoals, Alabama, playing on records for Bobby Blue Bland, Little Milton, Etta James and Johnnie Taylor as part of the famed Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section.
He parted company amicably from Raitt in 1980, because he and his wife, Janet, wanted a change of lifestyle and didn't want to raise two kids in L.A.
Soon after relocating to Muscle Shoals, he had a spiritual awakening. His younger brother was murdered while McFarlane was still with Raitt, and he says he reeled for three years afterward.
He became a Christian, but continued to make his living playing secular music at Muscle Shoals Sound, as well as traveling in ministry. During this time his floundering marriage was restored, and he and Janet, now married 35 years, also travel together.
McFarlane has continued to work in secular and gospel music, both traditional and contemporary styles. He has moved back to Muscle Shoals, and plays there, as well as in Nashville, and other places around the country and world, doing sessions and live performances. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in Nashville as a friend of the Muscle Shoals Rhythm Section (The Swampers).
His "30 Second Guitar Lessons" have been a viral sensation of late, and he will bring his straight-ahead electric guitar teaching to Trinity Guitars at 7 p.m Tuesday. The session is free, but it is recommended that you call Trinity at 665-4490 to reserve a spot. You may also visit Trinity Guitars at 800 W. Third St. in Jamestown to sign up for the clinic.
McFarlane will then appear at the Midweek Ves-pers Service in Chautauqua Institution at 6 p.m. the following day. There is always a dinner before the service. A donation is appreciated, but not necessary. For more info, call Hurlbut Church at 357-4045.