Just when you think an artist can’t get any better, they come back to town, rock the house, and leave you absolutely speechless. This is the only way that I can describe recording artist James Wesley’s performance at The District, a great new venue located in Gilroy, California, on Wednesday, April 29.
If you don’t know Wesley already, then let me quickly educate you. With hits such as “Jackson Hole”, “Real”, “Didn’t I” and “Thank a Farmer”, Wesley has been getting airplay for quite some time now across the country. Special thanks go out to a number of local, California stations such as 95.3 KRTY, KAT Country 103, 101.9 The Wolf and 105.1 KNCI who continue to keep Wesley on their playlists. But in reality, he’s still not getting enough airplay (in my opinion) and I can’t stress enough that if you see him in concert one time, you’ll be hooked. Did I say hooked? More on that later…
If you can only catch three shows this year, James Wesley is one of them (with A Thousand Horses and Phil Vassar being the others). OK, I can’t forget the rest of the band including Michael Blakemore, Jesse LaFave, Matt Morgeson and Drew Scheuer either because they’re pretty damn good at what they do too. But you get my point!
Now, before you ask too many questions about James, let me tell you this: he can only be described as a traditionalist, which is something that is rare in country music these days. He’s also VERY passionate about his music and his especially his fans. He writes, or co-writes most of his own songs and both he, and the band, play their heart out each and every time they take the stage. Plus, Wesley is one of those guys on Twitter (@jameswesley1) who loves to engage with his fans. Make sure to give him a follow.
Take a look at the a few of the photos from the show and you’ll get a small idea of what a live performance is like. But, in reality, photos will never do justice.
So how would I describe a James Wesley show? Simple: high energy. Absolutely entertaining. Just like me, it’s a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll! I could go on and on with descriptors but I don’t want to bore you with my ranting.
Besides the staple set list songs that I mentioned earlier (Real, Didn’t I and Thank a Farmer) we were also treated once again with “new” songs that haven’t made it on the radio yet. Heck, maybe we can find them on an album in the near future? I’ve said this before, but just to reiterate, there are a few songs that I expect to be hits in the near future, including: “Running”, “See You on the Radio” and “The You I Wanna Know”. “Running” (co-written with Marcum Stewart and Zac Wrixon) and “See You on the Radio” are two songs that continue to stick out for me as having the potential to be radio hits. The later, was the closing song on the set for this show and it certainly has the legs to make a solid run on country radio.
To my radio friends out there…do you hear me???
But let’s not forget about the beauty of the cover song. One thing that Wesley and the band like to do is mix their own music with the sounds of Merle Haggard, Johnny Cash, Dwight Yoakam, George Jones and even some Chuck Berry. “The Fugitive” some “White Lightning”, “Folsom Prison Blues” and a little “Fast As You”. Fantastic stuff. But possibly the most fun of the evening was a cover of Johnny B. Goode. I swear the entire audience leaped from their seats and a full on dance party broke out. Good times for sure. The band nailed it!
I mentioned earlier that if you see Wesley in concert one time you’ll be hooked. Well, now you can officially get “Hooked Up” with Wesley’s newest single by the same name. Back on April 8, officials from Big Rock Sports, LLC announced that Calcutta®, a proprietary brand of Big Rock Sports, partnered with Wesley to produce the single and music video “Hooked Up”. The music video will be shot during a concert that Wesley will be performing on May 30 at the new Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament weigh station on the Morehead City, North Carolina waterfront, as well as during the tournament which takes place June 6–13.
The song, which tells the story of anglers chasing blue marlin—through the eyes of the marlin—at the Big Rock, has been released through iTunes, CalcuttaFishing.com, and Thebigrock.com so you will definitely want to check this out. By the way, a portion of the proceeds from the song downloads will go to the Big Rock Blue Marlin Tournament Charities and the ASA’s Keep America Fishing Foundation. Wesley and the band played it live for the first time at this show and I am already going out on a ledge and saying that this will be a radio hit later in 2015.
OK. I’ve talked your ear off but let me say this once again: there are only a few artists that I give a five star recommendation to. James Wesley is one of them. If there is one artist that you see in concert in the next year, make sure that it’s Wesley. From he and the band’s stage presence, to the love of the music to the time he and the band spend with their fans, it is not just a concert. It really is an experience that music lovers of all ages, and across genres, will enjoy. Trust me, you won’t regret spending $10, $15, $20 or more to see these guys live!
Thanks again to Nate Deaton, Julie Stevens, Tina Ferguson and the rest of the crew over at KRTY for bringing James and the band back to the Bay Area. Always a fantastic show!
With that being said, have you seen Wesley and the band in concert? What did you think? Please leave your comments and thoughts in the comments below! I would love to hear about your similar experiences!