Sound Check: Will Whalen makes mark in valley

MELINDA MAWDSLEY/The Daily Sentinel Will Whalen has played the piano his entire life and taught himself to play the guitar four years ago. He plays covers and original music and can be found at area venues at least twice a week during the school year. Watch Whalen play in a video at

Will Whalen may be the busiest man in the local music scene.

A senior studying writing at Colorado Mesa University, Whalen plays as few as two shows a week during the school year and as many as possible during the summer.

Whalen is a singer/songwriter (think Matt Nathanson), who plays covers and original tunes, which is why being a writing major has come in handy.

“I wanted to keep music organic, to have my own ideas,” Whalen said.

A native of Florida, Whalen moved to Grand Junction in 2008 to follow a girl he was dating.

The relationship is over, but Whalen stayed on in River City.

In 2009, after a lifetime of playing piano, Whalen taught himself how to play the guitar.

Whalen can be seen from 5–8 p.m. every Thursday and Friday at Bailey’s Lounge in Grand Vista Hotel, 2790 Crossroads Blvd.

He also is a frequent guest at Rockslide Brew Pub and Naggy McGee’s Irish Pub.

Among the musicians he covers are Frank Sinatra, Cake and The Lumineers, but he interjects his sound into covers.

“I have influences I like to work in, but I guess I kind of want to sound like me,” Whalen said.

All his original songs from his self-titled album are on his Facebook wall ( and can be downloaded for free, giving him the kick in the pants to make more music, he said.

Whalen has aspirations of turning his love of music into a career, which is why he plays so often, studies the music industry whenever possible and even hired a manager, Christella Kay, to help him promote his music and book shows.

He works harder — particularly for someone still in college — at the technical aspect of being a musician than anyone she knows, Kay said.

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