James Wesley

Thursday, April 21, 2011, 7:30 pm to 7:45 pm

James Wesley - Real

I’ve always been a big believer in tradition,” declares James Wesley. “A lot of the old ways are the best ways: family, God, treating people right, doing what you’re supposed to do. I think it’s time to come back to what’s real. That’s what country music is about.”

James Wesley puts those core values into his music with a whiskey-smooth voice and a timelessly winning way with a great country song. Wesley sings directly to real people about real things that profoundly affect real lives—and from his small-town upbringing to his blue-collar work ethic, he has a deep understanding of what those folks are longing to hear.

Wesley grew up in tiny Mound Valley, a community of about 200 people in Southeastern Kansas. He first discovered country music via his grandmother’s record collection, which included heaping helpings of classic crooners like Marty Robbins, George Jones and Ray Price. By his late teens he was singing in local nightclubs.

He and his wife, Mindee sold their house and almost everything in it, rented a moving truck and headed for Music City. Once there, Wesley took a construction job to make ends meet and began learning the ropes of the Nashville music business. He met hit songwriter Rodney Clawson and producer Dan Frizsell, and the three began recording together.

His debut single, Jackson Hole (penned by Clawson and Monty Criswell) immediately began racing up the charts, driven by listeners who loved its vivid story of fleeting love in a snowy setting. The breakout success of Jackson Hole instantly validated the enormous risk Wesley took in uprooting his family for an uncertain future in Nashville was worth it. 

James Wesley hopes to do what he loves to do for a long time to come. “I want to be in it for the long haul,” he says. “I want to do those songs that everybody wants to hear, and that everybody can feel. I want to be the guy who tells the stories, and tells it like it is.”

Ticket Price: $17