By Nikki Hedrick
Husband and wife Will and Linda Pleasants, recent transplants to the area, have quickly garnered attention from top Beachcomberland venues as the acoustic duo Will and Linda.
“We do everything from outlaw country to soul music,” says Will of his and Linda’s extensive song list.
The pair was introduced by none other than Will’s father. “My dad has been an amateur musician all my life—a weekend warrior—and he had a band he was putting together at the time,” says Will. “He was trying to recruit Linda to sing with him. She had been doing vocals with another group and he introduced her to me.”
Things didn’t quite go as planned, and Linda began singing with Will instead. “There was instant chemistry and our voices blended beautifully together,” he says. “Singing with her taught me a lot about the blending of voices and harmonies.
“After about a year, we got married. We got engaged New Year’s Eve while opening for the house band at Rum Boogie on Beale Street in Memphis.”
Over the next few years, Will and Linda grew their reputation throughout Mississippi, playing both hot spots and corporate events. But Will always kept an eye on what was happening along the Emerald Coast.
“We knew that this was something we wanted to do—to move to this area,” says Will. “I’ve been friends with (Cadillac Willy guitarist) Clayton Bonjean since we were freshmen at Ole Miss together.
“Linda and I took our honeymoon down here. We stayed at the Sandestin Hilton which had music on Saturday, and it turns out it was Forrest and Pherrel (Williams). They had just moved to the area, and it was their first gig at the Hilton.”
That chance meeting led to a conversation about the area, and Will took to social media to follow their gigs. “Over the course of the next six or seven years I followed their progress through Facebook and noticed it got to point where Forrest was playing year round. We thought if we could be here and perform year-round it would be something we would want to do.” Will still calls it “a leap of faith to uproot.”
But so far that leap is paying off for Will and Linda, with weekly gigs at AJ’s Seafood and Oyster Bar and LuLu’s in Destin already on the books.
“This is a very unique club to be in,” says Will of being a musician on the Emerald Coast. “To live here in paradise, do what you love, and just make people happy. I think you can feel that in the musical community here.”
Discover more at willandlinda.com.
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