Concert Review: James Wesley Keeps it “Real” at The Rodeo Club in San Jose, California
As most of you know, I love to go to concerts. Lots of concerts. Country concerts…rock concerts…punk rock concerts…you name it! I guess it’s pretty obvious if you’ve listened to me talk for even five minutes.
I’m proud to say that I’ve seen them all, across genres: Kenny Chesney, Brooks & Dunn, Florida Georgia Line, Zac Brown Band, Tim McGraw, Blink 182, Green Day, Pearl Jam, Metallica, U2, The Rolling Stones and the list goes on and on.
So if I were to tell you that I went to one of the best concerts I’ve ever been to, then you’d probably stop and take notice, right?
I can honestly say that in all of my 35 years, I can count on one hand how many times I’ve been to a show that seemed to have as much energy as there was at the Rodeo Club in San Jose, California, on Friday, November 22. I wonder if Chevon and Christine would agree with me?
The gang together at the show!
Ladies and gentlemen, if you don’t know him already, go take some time on YouTube (or below) and check out Broken Bow recording artist James Wesley. If you can only catch one show in 2014, this is the guy to see. Dead serious! OK, maybe not just James. Marshall Weidner, Jesse LaFave, Neil Alexander, Michael Blakemore and Eric Burgett are all pretty damn good too.
For those of us who follow country music closely, this man is already known. With hits such as “Real”, “Didn’t I” and “Thank a Farmer”, James has been getting airplay for quite some time thanks to stations like KRTY (but definitely not enough airplay and I can’t stress this enough!!!). His videos have reached the top of the GAC charts and if you see him in concert just once, you’ll be hooked.
James Wesley and I after the show.
James is a traditionalist which I find rare in country music these days. He’s also passionate about his music…and his fans. He writes his own songs and he plays his heart out each and every time he takes the stage. During his show in San Jose, he mixed his own music with the sounds of Hank Williams Jr., Merle Haggard, George Jones and Johnny Cash. I’ll admit, anytime you can absolutely NAIL “Folsom Prison Blues” and “Family Tradition”, you’re doing something right!
I think one of the best parts of the show was the opportunity to hear new songs that haven’t made it on the radio yet. There are a few songs that I expect to be hits in 2014 including “Running”, “The You I Wanna Know” and “You Should Be Here with Me”. I really wish I would have shot some video because I’d love to share these songs with you, alas my phone was dying and wouldn’t allow me to. “Running” (co-written with Marcum Stewart and Zac Wrixon) is the one that stuck out in my mind as the one that should be the clear-cut radio hit next year (do you hear that Indiana Al at KRTY???). I think I probably live-Tweeted that thought multiple times during the show. Loved both the lyrics and the beat.
And now for my favorite part of the evening. Following the show, James does what a lot of other artists don’t…he spent hours meeting, talking to and taking photos with his fans. I’m lucky enough to have had the opportunity to meet James via Twitter (@jameswesley1) last year and have had a number of conversations with him over the past few months. You don’t realize that sometimes, just sometimes, artists are exactly the same in-person as they appear online. James truly is one of these people. He doesn’t pull punches. He’s as friendly in-person as he is on Twitter and really makes every effort to get to know each and every one of his fans. I wish more artists would follow his lead.
Having Some Fun!
I’ll say it again: if there is one artist that you see in concert in 2014, make it James Wesley. From the stage presence, to the music to the time he spends with his fans, it is not just a concert…it’s an experience. A “Real” experience that music lovers of all ages and genres will enjoy. You won’t regret it!
Have you seen James and the band in concert? What did you think? Feel free to leave your comments and thoughts in the comments below! Would love to hear about your similar experiences!
James Wesley Setlist: San Jose, CA on November 22, 2013
Completely agree on that! Visibility is key and I know that I may not be the most influential person out there, but I believe that talented artists deserve their shot and James Wesley is one artist who has what it takes to be a star for years to come!
You nailed it right on the head! I have seen James three times and been to all three meet and greets. The third time I saw him he waved to me. Afterward at the meet and greet I got a big ‘ol hug. I have been rallying for him and doing my best to promote him and his amazing music. James Wesley embodies what country music should be. I am also currently attempting to arrange for James and Merle Haggard to do a duet of “Mama Tried”. I don’t know if James covered that song at the show you were at but he is phenomenal at performing it. Any help you might be able to give in this promotion of what I know would be an amazing duet is greatly appreciated. Thank you for your totally on point review and for your time.
He didn’t do that song, but I imagine it would be a great cover. Would love to see him do a duet with Merle Haggard. That would be incredible.
I put a photo of the setlist at the end of my review so you can see the songs that he performed. It was an excellent show (as you can tell). I’ve seen James twice now (the first was a 2011 KRTY show with the San Jose Giants). What was great was that he recognized myself and the people that I was there with in the audience while he was on stage and then later when we met up after the show.
We’ve been promoting James for quite some time on Twitter (I’m at @kreuzerskorner) as well as anywhere else we can. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that he may very well be the most under-appreciated singer in country music today. He is a phenomenal performer who cares about the music, the message and his fans.
He is absolutely one of the best ever people I’ve ever met. He truly is as his song says, real, in both who he is and what he sings about. There are not many artists that I’ve met (and there have been many) that actually remember my name and more. Makes me feel like it DOES matter to him that I enjoy his music. He is truly one of the most under-appreciated and most genuine artists in Country music today. And as for phenomemol performer, for the many shows of his I’ve been to, he always gives it his all and blows me away. And the time he spends with the fans after his shows. One show I went to in June, I got to spend time with him when local DJ told me that James told her to tell me that he was already at merch booth. So went and spent a few minutes with him. Upon leaving almost 5 hours later, that man was still at his merch booth meeting fans!!! So, of course you know this devout fan got back in line just to get another hug for the road for the trip home…lol I am praying that what you say is true and that 2014 will be his year, for he’s worked hard and so deserves it.
Every show I’ve been to has been the same way. He truly cares about his fans and will spend more time than any other artist I’ve met speaking with each and every one. The music is great, and yes it’s “Real”. I hope 2014 is the best year yet for him!
John, I couldn’t agree more with you!! I have had the honor of seeing, meeting & chatting with Jim twice. He’s everything you said he is. He’s very down to earth & yes, loves hanging with his fans. His voice & music are amazing & pure country! I truly believe he will be the next big thing in Country Music. So definitely keep an eye on this guy & an ear open to & for his music.
I wish that he already was the next big thing in Country music. But 2014 will certainly be his year. I’d love to hear the new songs again that he plays in concert. Running was my favorite, but all were good!