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Singer Jesse Wells on Rock 'n' Roll, His New Life in Nashville

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Jesse Wells is bringing grunge-inspired rock ‘n’ roll to Wilmington. The 23-year-old singer-songwriter is the front man for the band Welles, which will be playing with bands Rival Sons and Stone Horses at The Queen on Wednesday, May 9.

Doors open at 7 p.m., and the show starts at 8 p.m. Visit The Queen’s website for tickets ($22.50) and more information. 

Welles’ new album, “Red Trees and White Trashes,” drops June 15.


What can audiences expect from your show?

They’re going to get a four-piece rock ‘n’ roll band. No trickery, no keyboards, no triggers on the drums, no computers, no nothing—just good old classic rock ‘n’ roll. It’s an outfit that could have just as easily gotten on stage in 1973. We’e practicing a classic art.

 

Who are your biggest musical influences?

Of course I liked Kurt Cobain when I was in high school. I liked Nirvana a whole lot, and thought that was really the epitome of grunge rock. But later I fell in love with Shannon Hoon from Blind Melon. 

 

Where do you currently live?

I’m in Nashville. I live here and I work at a coffee house whenever I’m off tour to get some cash in my pocket. And I play shows with my other buddies whenever I’m here. I lived in Arkansas my entire life up until last year.

 

How does Nashville compare to Arkansas?

There are just so many musicians, so many talented musicians. It really gives you perspective. I miss the nature of back home and I’m not the biggest fan of the city.

 

How did Welles form?

I just met my bandmates in Nashville by working at the coffee house and just kind of being around in the scene and letting people know that, “Hey, I’ve got a band,” or, “Hey, I write and record music, so if you want to play in a band, hit me up.” I went through quite a few players at first just finding what would work, and found some guys that I love to hang out with. And that’s really what it comes down to.

 

What’s your favorite part about performing live?

I just like playing with the boys, playing with the band. We don’t know any different. This is all we’ve ever done our entire lives.

 

This interview has been edited for brevity and clarity. 

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