See that dude in the picture up there? Let me tell you a little story about him that he probably doesn't even remember being a part of. Way back in 1997, I was a little bitty freshman in high school. Scared to death at five feet tall and 14 years old, I waded my way through a sea of upperclassman who all looked to be at least 25 years old, ridiculously tall, way mature, and definitely too cool to talk to me. Nothing fully prepares you for that first day of high school. So anyway, there I stood, taking it all in, feeling very lost, and this giant 7-foot-tall beanpole of a boy walked up to me and used the top of my head as an armrest. Just stood there talking and talking with his elbow on top of my head, making bad jokes and full of first-day-senior power. Thankfully, I knew him. We had grown up attending the same church, and his dad was the local pharmacist in my grandparents' small town... but I didn't know him know him. At that point. But after all the goodhearted jokes and poking fun, Wess Floyd took me in, steered me to class, introduced me to a few folks, and was a saving grace to me on an otherwise traumatic day. Those are the kindnesses you never forget. And that boy had a place in my heart from that day on.
Fast forward to the present, and I'm proud to consider Wess Floyd the man as a good friend. And today he is releasing a record that has been three years in the making, and folks - it's good. This isn't his first release (nor will it be his last), and from his beginnings as a musician, Wess has written and played with more heart and talent than I see most days here in Nashville from the beginning... but this is the record that matters. This one is special. Foxhole Confessions is Wess's tribute to growing up, to life. To moving on and settling down. To the things we love, the places, and the people who mean something to us. To past hurts, betrayals by friends and exes, and, to the eventual peace that comes with forgiveness. To learning from mistakes and regret instead of wallowing in them. To how along the way, at some point, we get comfortable with ourselves, we mature, and at the end of the day, we just want to be with surrounded by the people and places we love and offer something honest and good to them. To embracing the past. To the fact that "...somewhere in the pain and the mystery, there’s a reason and the rest is just history..." (from "The Streets.")
My favorite thing about Wess is his passion for the things/people he loves and his refusal to apologize for it. Maybe it is because I share that with him, the inability to filter over-excitement and sometimes cheesiness. That's why people like us get our hearts broken a little more easily, place too much hope in things and people sometimes, and struggle a little harder with admitting our mistakes and accepting things that don't go our way. I get it, but unfortunately I don't have the talents to write songs or music and have a great record to show for it. Thankfully, Wess does, and I'm willing to bet his songs will speak to many of you as well.
Don't, however, pigeonhole this as an album that can only be put on and pondered, reflected upon. It's soulful and at times very deep, but it's also joyful and fun with songs of revelry, even beginning with the crowd-favorite "Record Player." Each track was written purposefully and recorded just as so, with some written as recently as last year and others re-recorded and tweaked from records past. "The meanings of the tunes have changed. I'm not the same person I was when I wrote those, ya know?" Wess said to me just the other day. From rockabilly to what Wess calls "punk rock gospel," Americana and alt-country - the album covers it all, and from his years in the Nashville music scene, Wess counted on the help from friends to complete the tracks with expert musicianship and production. From beginning to end, it's a solid piece of three years well spent.
I love this record, and if you're near Nashville or Birmingham, you'll have the opportunity to hear it live this week. But definitely check out his Facebook page, website, and buy his CD here!
CD Release Shows:
Nashville - Thursday, November 3rd at The Basement. 8pm with openers The Lowry Sisters, John Paul Keith and the 1, 4, 5's.
Birmingham - Saturday, November 5th at The Nick. 9pm with openers from13 Ghosts (Birmingham) and the Pollies (Muscle Shoals)
Here are a few of my favorite tracks:
"Cause I can't dance... but joy I can Shout.."