If you really do judge a man by the company he
keeps, you have to take Wes McGhee very seriously indeed. Ask around
in Austin, Texas and they’ll tell you he’s the real thing - a great
songwriter, musician and entertainer whose talents are undisputed,
whether as band leader, guest musician or solo artist. Given that
they know a bit about music in Texas, that marks Wes McGhee as special.
A Wes McGhee show is likely to include pretty
well every major branch of “roots” music you can name - from blues,
Tex-Mex, rock ‘n’ roll and pure honkytonk to powerful, evocative
and lyrical songs in the best singer-songwriter tradition - all
seamlessly meshed together by a great band, some of whom have been
with Wes for over twenty years.
Since the late 70’s, Wes has spent much of his
time commuting between his English home and Texas, recording a string
of beautifully crafted eclectic albums, producing both himself and
friends on both sides of the Atlantic and achieving an almost legendary
status among connoisseurs of such music styles around the world.
For those of you who do not know, some background
information might be useful:
Wes McGhee was born in Leicestershire, England,
began playing guitar with a local band when he was only 13 years
old, graduated to playing in German rock clubs by the age of 18
and secured his first major record deal - with a division of Pye
Records - three years later. His determination to marry psychedelic
rock with country music did not endear him to the company, however,
and he spent seven frustrating years locked into a contract while
no records were being released.
During this time Wes put together the first version
of what became his long-time backing band and recorded his first
album (Long Nights and Banjo Music) once he was free from his old
deal. Having developed an aversion to big record companies, he formed
his own Terrapin Records label and subsequently released four other
albums during the next six years.