Showing posts with label Charles Wesley Godwin. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Charles Wesley Godwin. Show all posts

Aug 16, 2019

Live Review / Ward Davis & Charles Wesley Godwin / Pearl Street Warehouse 8/9/19


By Matthew Martin

To be honest, I had only really just heard of Ward Davis.  I knew that he was a helluva songwriter and was always being lauded by Cody Jinks.  I knew that he was a co-writer of one of my favorite Jinks songs, "I'm Not The Devil."  But, I wasn't really familiar with his music.  But, when I saw that the incredible Charles Wesley Godwin was going to be opening up for him, I knew I was going to go.  Then, they switched up the show and made it a free show.  That made it even better.  So, we got some friends together and went to Pearl Street Warehouse in D.C.'s newly updated Wharf area.  

To start the evening, Ward Davis's bassist (whose name I did not write down and cannot remember for the life of me) started with a few songs.  Here I will admit that I could not hear the songs that well.  The acoustics this evening at Pearl Street Warehouse left much to be desired.  There was an open window in the back which may have resulted in the solo musician being drowned out by the voices inside and outside of the bar.  The songs were fine enough, but I just couldn't hear them well enough to have a strong opinion one way or the other.

Next, Charles Wesley Godwin was up and while the mix was also still a little messed up in the bar, the songs still stood out.  I know I mentioned this before, but I think CWG is special.  I think this debut solo album is special.  I think the stories CWG tells of West Virginia are important for everyone to hear.  We hear country songs about beer, women, and backroads enough.  We don't hear what it's like for real, honest country folks living their lives through the ups and downs of wars and energy industry downturns.  That being said, I did have the advantage to lots of folks (but, not all, for sure) in that I knew most of the songs and was able to make the sounds I couldn't quite hear out in my head.  This was nothing against CWG, mind you.  He sang his heart out, he played his heart out.  It's just the sound at the venue was very much off this night for a solo act.  However, that didn't stop folks from loving what they were hearing.  Some who were talking quite loudly during the first act shut up immediately to try and strain and hear every word coming from the stage.  I found out shortly after that there were a few people who had driven 3 hours to come see CWG open for Ward Davis.  That is special, y'all.  I remember hearing stories like that about American Aquarium.  CWG has struck a chord and his momentum will continue to grow.

Finally, Ward Davis was up.  He's a heavy-hitter.  He's pure country gold.  He's honky tonk.  He's everything I wanted to hear.  He started the night off on his trusty telecaster, slinging out classics like "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way" to his collaboration with Cody Jinks "I'm Not The Devil."  His band was tight.  The sound that was plaguing the first two acts didn't quite plague Davis as the band was able to drown out a lot of the chatter and really wash over folks.  Speaking of the band, the guitarist was great.  He hit every note like a seasoned veteran and he looked like he couldn't be a day over 21.  Midway through the set Davis switched over to his piano and played some more introspective tunes which included his songs from his latest EP Asunder.  The sincerity and simplicity with which Davis tells a story is stunning.  The range he has as a musician- storytelling-wise, I mean- is something to behold.  He can throw down shit-kicking boot-stompers or he can lay down beautiful heartbreaking tunes about divorce.  Not to mention, he can cover a song like "Time To Move On" by Tom Petty and make it sound like it's his own song.  He was impressive by all measures.  I was disappointed to know that he only has 1 full album and 1 EP out there.  I want, no need, more music from Ward Davis.  His peers (Jinks, Whitey Morgan) are putting out incredible music at a breakneck pace these days.  He can add to that and bring his own unique sound and style to the table.

As always, if you see these folks coming anywhere near you, go see them.  Go give em a hug.  Go buy anything and everything you can from them.  They are making music that deserves to be heard and they deserve every ounce of success they get from their hard work.  


(Not from the Pearl Street Warehouse show)

Jun 28, 2019

Top 25 Albums of 2019: 1st Half Report


This is Trailer’s top 25. The year-end list will be a collaborative effort from FTM contributors.


1. Vandoliers - Forever

2. Ian Noe - Between the Country

3. Molly Tuttle - When You’re Ready

4. Tyler Ramsey - For the Morning

5. Baroness - Gold and Grey

6. Austin Meade - Waves

7. Caroline Spence - Mint Condition

8. Dee White - Southern Gentleman

9. Charles Wesley Godwin - Seneca

10. Kalyn Fay - Good Company

11. Reba McEntire - Stronger Than the Truth

12. Joshua Ray Walker - Wish You Were Here

13. Emily Scott Robinson - Traveling Mercies

14. Yola - Walk Through Fire

14. Flatland Cavalry - Homeland Insecurity

16. Randy Rogers Band - Hellbent

17. Jenny Lewis - On the Line

18. Rod Melancon - Pinkville

19. Mary Bragg - Violets as Camouflage

20. Quaker City Night Hawks - QCNH

21. George Strait - Honky Tonk Time Machine

22. Karly Driftwood - Too Mean to Die

23. Jade Bird - s/t

24. Randy Houser - Magnolia

25. Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow

Apr 9, 2019

Top Albums of 2019 - First Quarter Report



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1. Vandoliers - Forever

2. Charles Wesley Godwin - Seneca

3. Joshua Ray Walker - Wish You Were Here

4. Molly Tuttle - When You’re Ready

5. Austin Meade - Waves

6. Kalyn Fay - Good Company

7. Dee White - Southern Gentleman

8. Jenny Lewis - On the Line

9. Yola - Walk Through Fire

10. Flatland Cavalry - Homeland Insecurity

11. Robert Ellis - Texas Piano Man

12. Reba McEntire - Stronger Than the Truth

13. Mary Bragg - Violets as Camouflage

14. Rod Melancon - Pinkville

15. Quaker City Night Hawks - QCNH

16. Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow

17. George Strait - Honky Tonk Time Machine

18. Hayes Carll - What It Is

19. Karly Driftwood - Too Mean to Die

20. Jimbo Mathus - Incinerator

21. Liz Brasher - Painted Image

22. Charlie Shafter - When I Was Yours and You Were Mine

23. Randy Houser - Magnolia

24. The Steel Woods - Old News

25. Rob Baird - After All

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*there are a few recent and forthcoming albums I haven't listened to enough to rank yet

**this is just Trailer's top 25 - year end list will include all FTM contributors

Mar 26, 2019

Live Review / Charles Wesley Godwin / The Vinyl Lounge / 3/14/19



By Matthew Martin

West Virginia ends up being the butt of a lot of jokes. There's poverty.  There's wide-reported drug abuse.  And there's a sense of this almost pride that you're NOT from West Virginia.  But, on the other side of that coin are the people from West Virginia.  If you actually meet folks from West Virginia, they're nothing like those silly caricatures you read/hear/joke about.  They're proud.  They're proud of what the state stood for during the Civil War. They're proud of what the state provided to the country with the mining industry.  They're proud of the unions that began in that same mining industry.  And over the years some of the best Appalachian music has come out of those hills and hollers.

Charles Wesley Godwin is someone I believe will become a household name very soon.  There's nothing but authenticity dripping from every word and chord that pours out of him.  And he has the voice to carry these sincere, heartfelt songs of growing up in West Virginia.  Songs that are so specific to the Appalachian region that you almost feel you're there as you listen to him sing.  This all comes through on his fantastic debut album Seneca.  I was pleased to find out that in a stripped-down, solo live show, nothing was lost.

We went to see Charles at The Vinyl Lounge which is part of the Gypsy Sally's venue in D.C.  We had once seen Sturgill Simpson play solo at this place to about 50 people.  So, this felt similar- like I needed to see Charles Wesley Godwin before he started making it to venues where the crowds were growing.  He began the show around 10PM.  

The first couple of songs were new songs as far as I was concerned ("Jesse" and "Bones").  I don't believe they were from his previous band, either.  These songs were incredibly well-written and true to CWG's young, but quite impressive career.  CWG would then go on to play a great mix of songs from his debut album ("Coal Country", "Strawberry Queen", and "Shrinks and Pills") as well as songs from his previous band's (Union Sound Treaty) output ("Peaked" and "Hazelton").  He threw in a couple of covers as well from folks like Bruce Springsteen and Jimmy Martin.

CWG played for those of us there for around an hour and a half.  It was an intimate affair and one that I am incredibly glad I got to witness.  The songs of CWG are smart and emotional.  West Virginia pride is rich in the tradition of the songs.  He wants you to know that WV is still here.  With songs like "Here In Eden" he calls his WV brothers to arms.  You get the idea that CWG would never apologize for where he's from.  And, that's what makes his songs so relatable and so damn irresistible.  We all want that sense of pride of our home.  CWG has it damn spades.

To drive this point home, CWG pulled a barstool out from the bar for his last song.  He stepped away from his mic.  He unplugged his guitar.  And he sang with all of his heart and soul the WV standard: "Country Roads".  We all sang along.  We felt connected.  And, we walked away from the show feeling like we'd just watched something pretty special.

If you are anywhere near CWG, go see him.  It is special.  He's building something.  He will be someone we all will say we remember when he was still building that something.  Until he comes to your place, go buy his music; his solo album and his previous band's album.  You won't be disappointed. 




Feb 15, 2019

Charles Wesley Godwin: The Farce the Music Interview


By Kevin Broughton

There’s a quiet, humble confidence to Charles Wesley Godwin. It’s like he almost knows he’s made a special record but can’t quite believe it. Maybe it’s because the 26-year-old West Virginian is relatively new to the guitar, let alone using it and his voice to make a living. There’s a determination in him, not just to succeed, but to prove to himself and his state and region that anything is possible. 

Godwin paints a rich and honest portrayal of his homeland and its people with his debut album. Seneca is a moving snapshot of life and well-soiled roots in the Appalachian hills, a backdrop that has given birth to some of the most intelligent and hard-working people in the country.

Godwin’s voice is weighed down by the current condition of the world, but he doesn’t allow the tragedy, pain, or regret sour his view of life. That’s what makes him an exceptional storyteller; he employs his experiences into melodically profound and timeless compositions. “Seneca Creek,” a stunning ballad laced with both melancholy and hope, tells the tale of his grandparents and their courtship in the spring of 1949.

Another essential piece of his story, “Shrinks and Pills” exhibits a dry, sly humor and sees Godwin lament the roar of the open road in his ears and an unquenchable homesickness wedged deep in his bones. He misses the comfort of his homestead, but he wouldn’t have it any other way--heartache be damned. “Hardwood Floors” dazzles in the dim light of a local pub as he shares a tender embrace with his wife amidst the ho-hum of the crowd.

Godwin is quick to credit producer Al Torrence for the album’s balance, flow and continuity. And we’ll step way out on a limb here and suggest there’s collaborative potential that could reach the lofty heights of Jason Isbell and Dave Cobb. This record is that good. 

The artist counts every day as a both a blessing and an opportunity, taking nothing for granted. This is a guy who would succeed in just about anything he attempted, and sees no reason why anybody else wouldn’t. 

Grounded. Humble. Nice. Hopeful. Who wouldn’t want to spend time with Charles Godwin and talk about Big-12 football, Estonia, and Waylon’s drummer? 

How did you and producer/engineer Al Torrence connect? 

When I was playing with my old band, Union Sound Treaty, we made one album and that was comprised of my first batch of songs. Al worked those sessions as an engineer, and we were just really comfortable together. He’s a Berkley School of Music grad, and his knowledge of music is really impressive. We just worked well together. He’s put it all on the line the way I have, and I really like him. 

A lot of these songs are easy to picture in an intimate setting, just you and a guitar, and I imagine that’s how you worked out a lot of them before recording. Some of them, though, like “The Last Bite” and “Sorry For The Wait,” have a really sweeping, big sound. Had you done those with a full band on the road, or were those arrangements put together in the studio?

It was done in the studio. It’s a setup I would love to take on the road, but I wouldn’t be able to do that unless I could pay everybody a living, know what I mean? But if the opportunity ever arises, everything on the album I’ll bring out on the road with me, without a doubt.

“Pour it On” is another one with a big, full feel to it, and “Windmill” of course. You have a pretty good balance of songs here of different arrangements. Was that a purposeful thing when you were picking which 13 songs would go on the album?

Neither he nor I were too concerned about the tempo; we just wanted to pick the songs that were related, sorta, to the theme of the album, which is my home. We wanted to stick to that, but I do think it is pretty well balanced. 

There are a couple things in your bio one doesn’t see every day from a singer-songwriter. You hail from Morgantown, and actually tried to walk on the football team at WVU. What was that like? 

Yeah, I love football and really love playing it, and I had always dreamed about playing football for West Virginia; I wanted just to go out and make a few plays for ‘em, if I could. And it’s something I tried really, really hard to do my first couple years of college. But, you know, I just wasn’t good enough. I didn’t have any delusions going into it and knew I probably wasn’t physically gifted enough to do it…

Were you a defensive back in high school? You look kinda like a safety. 

I was an outside linebacker. I used to work out really hard. It was something that I didn’t have the natural ability for. I hadn’t started playing music yet, but up to that point nothing had come easily for me and I really wanted to try it. 

From Charles Wesley Godwin's Instagram
Well, that’s just kind of a rarity, you know? “Aspiring Big-12 athlete” and “singer songwriter” aren’t terms usually heard in the same sentence; I’m trying to think…I think Ryan Bingham was a rodeo cowboy for a while…

(Laughs) Well, having the phrase “Big 12 athlete” anywhere near my name is probably not correct. I didn’t make the team, but I wanted to try it, and it was the first big dream in my life that didn’t come true. 

And you picked up the guitar in earnest while studying abroad in Estonia of all places. What was your course of study that would send you to the Baltic region? 

Yeah. That was interesting there, because WVU has a really good “study abroad” program, and I got the “Promise” scholarship because I was an in-state kid who had good grades in high school, and it covers your study overseas as well if you’re able to get a plane ticket. I was in the finance program, and there were only a few options where you could get your credits for study abroad. They partner with hundreds of universities, but only four of them had classes that I hadn’t taken yet that would go towards my degree: Hartfordshire, England; Hamburg, Germany; Hong Kong; and Tartu, Estonia. The last one sounded cool to me. 

How long were you there, and it that where you really decided to dive into the music thing? 

I was there six months, and by happenstance I started playing in front of people for the first time there. I played my first gigs there, and yeah, I kinda got spoiled there thinking, “Aw, this will be easy.” But that’s where I really got started, for sure, thinking I could be a musician. And when I graduated college I had it set in my mind that I was gonna keep going with it. 

Charles Wesley (Wikipedia)
There was a pretty famous Methodist composer of hymns named Charles Wesley. Were you named for him? 

Sort of.  My grandfather was a Methodist preacher, Charles Godwin. So, I would say it’s 1A I was named after my granddad and 1B Charles Wesley. But yeah, I come from…well, on the Godwin side of the family we’re all Methodists. My granddad was a preacher, and then I also have an uncle and an aunt who are Methodist ministers. 

I suppose the comparisons you’ve received to Tyler Childers and to a lesser extent Colter Wall are inevitable. Those guys came on the scene over the last couple years with a certain level of instant credibility. What do you think about the comparisons? Do you feel any kind of pressure there, or do you put any on yourself as a result of them? 

I’ve heard some of those same things from people. I don’t put any pressure on myself; it’s certainly a hell of a compliment, to hear anybody say that I would remind them of either of those two. They’re both really good at what they do,  really good songwriters. But yeah, I’ll take that compliment any day of the week. I believe in my work and I’m really proud of this album. If certain people want to categorize it along with those guys, I’m more than okay with that. 

Your portrayal of coal country is certainly authentic and real, but not necessarily as dark as one might expect it to be. Appalachia has gotten its share of rough cultural PR over the years, but there’s an optimistic feel to this record. Were you pushing back a little bit? 

Yeah. Yeah. I always have a tough time articulating this in conversation and I think it always comes out better in song. Home is what we make it, and there are a lot of smart, talented people in West Virginia. With the Internet, anybody can do anything, anywhere. There are a lot of opportunities. 

I remember I was playing a show in Pineville, West Virginia in February of last year. I was sitting at the bar after the show, and this guy came up to me and said, “Man thanks for coming here and playing for us. Not many people come here, and people overlook us.” And I’m thinking Man, I’m not too good to play anywhere. And he was telling me that he works at the pizza shop up the road and that he just drinks after work and there’s nothing to do. All there is to do is drink and get into drugs. And I’m nodding my head, like, yeah, I know it’s rough. And I was staying in Bedford that night, and driving back to the hotel I kinda got mad. 

It was one of those things where after the fact you think about what you should have said. And I got mad, and thought, you know what? That’s bullsh*t. I live out in the middle of nowhere, and I’m just trying to do the best I can. There are all kinds of people around the state, carpenters, whatever, who are just making it happen. And that guy could’ve done it, too. There’s plenty to do around there, if he’d just try. That’s where “Here In Eden” comes from. 


It’s about making the best of where you are. And that’s the way I feel about West Virginia. There’s no reason nowadays that people can’t succeed if they’re willing to work at it. So yeah, I take the optimistic view. It’s not all doom and gloom. It’s not just drugs and opiates. 

The record has already received wide critical acclaim. Do you get the sense that things will change in an appreciable way for you once it’s released? Or that maybe you’re about to become a much more widely known individual? 

I really hope so. I can already tell there’s been a noticeable uptick in the attendance at shows. People can review it all they want, but unless it translates to people buying the music and coming to see me play, it doesn’t mean a whole lot. But it would give me a lot of relief if it were to work out and allow me to do this in a greater capacity, because what I’ve been doing the last couple years has been the definition of “the bottom,” and it’s been a hell of a grind. 

You got a day job?

No. I’m all in on this. 

You’ve already shared bills with some pretty impressive names: Childers, Shooter, Colter Wall, David Allen Coe. Was there a moment as you started doing that more and more that it sort of dawned on you that, “Yeah, this is something I’m really gonna do for a career?”

Um, I don’t think there’s been any show where I’ve opened for anybody that made me more confident that “this is gonna work out.” Every day it’s like a seesaw for me, where I question what it is I’m trying to do for a living. Some parts of the day it’s I got this, and other times it’s WHAT am I doing? I ask myself, “What are the chances you’ll be able to make a middle-class living playing music?” So I wouldn’t say that opening for any of those folks made me think this is gonna work out. I still don’t know if it’s gonna work out. 

I will say that the coolest thing – of all the times I’ve opened for anybody – was after the Shooter Jennings show. He had Waymore’s Outlaws with him that night – some of the tour he takes his dad’s old band out with him. I got to talk to Richie Albright, who was Waylon’s drummer from WAY back in the beginning, when he was in Phoenix. Before he ever went to Nashville. I got to talk to Richie for about 30 minutes. And I was so happy about that. I’ll always have that. If this all goes away and music is something I only do for fun -- and like I said, I think about that every day – if it all goes to hell, I’ll always have the fact that I got to hang out and talk with Richie Albright. I wouldn’t want to offend him by saying “I touched a piece of history,” (laughs) but to get to interact with such an important figure in music history was really special. 

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Seneca is available now on Amazon, iTunes, etc.


Jan 10, 2019

Charles Wesley Godwin Performs "Here in Eden"

From his forthcoming album, Seneca. RIYL: Tyler Childers, Colter Wall, Western Centuries.

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