Pandemic, Burnout Can’t Stop the Music for Alumnus Will Overman

Will Overman has been playing live music since he was a high school student in Virginia Beach. It started with his dad, Bill, whose cover band Dr. Bob and the Burning Desires played shows around town.

They would play music by the Avett Brothers, The Grateful Dead, Mumford and Sons and the Eagles, with Will singing along. “It was a nice mix of ‘dad rock’ meets Americana,” he said.

Between those years (Overman graduated from high school in 2012 and headed to the University of Virginia after attending Piedmont Virginia Community College) and now, the younger Overman has stretched and grown as a performing artist and is in the early legs of a long-awaited tour derailed for a time by COVID-19.

He played his first live show since the winter of 2020 at a Crozet brewery earlier this spring, promoting his new LP, “The Wine Maker’s Daughter.” Overman’s music is a blend of folk, pop, country and rock.

Although the pandemic put Overman’s live performances on pause, he nearly quit singing and songwriting altogether after three grueling years of touring with his eponymous first band while also a full-time UVA student studying sociology. Studying, writing music, managing a band and booking shows was more than a 40-hour-a-week job.

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Overman with his father, Bill, who played in a cover band and inspired his son’s love of music. (Contributed photo)

“I think a lot of people don’t realize that musicians, when they’re working, it’s not just showing up on stage,” he said. “Between the self-booking of the shows and all the press I was trying to run and the rehearsals and then just driving to and from shows, that was probably a full-time job.”

So, after he graduated from UVA in 2017, Overman took a break to tend to some family matters and tried his hand as a freelance photographer in Chapel Hill, North Carolina. It took an impromptu, one-off show at Charlottesville’s Southern Café and Music Hall in 2019 to remind Overman how much performing feeds who he is.

“As soon as I got on stage, I just realized I gotta make music. It’s where I belong. It’s where I feel confident, and I want to share music with people,” he said. “It was just incredible. It’s just one of those moments where you know something immediately.”

Overman’s renewed passion for singing and songwriting shows in his performances. “When I’m on stage performing, I have realized it’s the one specific moment in my life that I feel like I’m completely in control,” he said.

“I mean, even this past year, knowing that I wasn’t going to play songs for 12 months, I’ve always kept in mind that one day, I will share these songs with people,” he said. “I love feeling the emotions of music in a room full of people who are there to do the exact same thing.”

Overman plays Friday in Harrisonburg and later this summer he will appear in Charlottesville, Staunton and at a July 4 gig in Scottsville, with more dates being added for the fall.

Listen to "Something to Hold," one of Overman's new tracks.

Media Contact

Jane Kelly

University News Associate Office of University Communications