John Wesley – Thanksgiving Day
Posted on Nov 14th, 2007 by Alan @ 2:07 pm

wes-purple.jpg

From John Wesley’s MySpace blog:

The night after Thanksgiving Day 2005 at around 3am I was on the tour bus somewhere in Europe when my cell phone awoke me in the bunk. It was my daughter Jamie, who was crying and could barely speak. The day before, her longtime childhood friend Pfc. Marc Delgado had been killed in an IED explosion on Thanksgiving Day in Iraq. Killed with him, was his good friend and platoon leader, SSG Steven Reynolds. The gunner in the humvee, Marissa Strock, lost her legs.

Her cousins and Marc had been neighbors since early childhood, and Marc and his brothers had been a fixture in Jamie’s life all through grade school and high school. More often than not, she would be the only girl running around with a pack of boys lead by the biggest of the boys Marc, and his best friend, Jamie’s cousin J.T.. I always knew that when she was with them…she was with her “brothers” and they would always look after her like she was their little sister.

Watching the kids go through the first loss of one of their own caused something to stir inside of me. Seeing Marc’s mom Ellen at Christmas wearing Marc’s dog tags wrenched my insides even more. I was being driven to write, but every time I would start…I felt could not tell his story in the way it needed to be told.

A year or so later, after time to settle and think, I was in L.A. watching a documentary with live footage of young soldiers in Iraq, fighting, being wounded, and more than anything, taking care of each other.

This sense of “brotherhood” and real Honor, coupled with a sense of unwavering dedication and willingness to sacrifice everything for each other, and the way Ellen was so proud of Marc, gave me the words to compose “Thanksgiving Day”.

There are no politics in the lyrics of this song. This song is not about the right or wrong of our current or past conflicts. This song is about the soldiers. The sons, daughters, fathers – the soldiers that have given their all in this generation and in the many generations before us to preserve our freedom.

The song is a free download, pass it along to anyone that you think would like to share in this story and honor Marc and his fallen and wounded brothers and sisters by remembering. Send them to this site, or send the MP3 attached in emails to anyone you know that may benefit from sharing in this song.

There is a link to a donation page at www.WoundedWarriorProject.org under the song download on my myspace page. All donations will be passed on to the WWP organization in Marc’s name.

Again…this song is not about politics, it is about remembering and honoring the sacrifice of Marc and the Soldiers and families of all that came before him, and those that will serve after him. Pass it along.

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John Wesley – Share The Wes!
Posted on Aug 31st, 2007 by Alan @ 4:45 pm

wesley.jpg

Great news for those of you who don’t own John Wesley’s entire back catalogue already – he’s giving it away for free! The motive behind this is to remove as many barriers as possible to getting it heard, and while he’ll continue to release new music for sale on CD initially, he’ll then make that free as well. The older items in his back catalogue are out of print, but you can find them in Amazon marketplace if you like having the physical package as well as the downloads.

Read more about this unusual decision on his MySpace blog – and visit his MySpace page to download each of his albums (all compressed in their entirety in .zip format)

I’ve blogged about John Wesley once before, and he’s one of those guys who I’m always surprised isn’t better known. Hopefully this latest move will start to change that.

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John Wesley – Your Round
Posted on May 17th, 2007 by Alan @ 12:10 pm

John Wesley

I first saw John Wesley playing live as the support act for Marillion in about 1992. He was previously their guitar tech, and as I understand it got the gig when the original support band pulled out at short notice. As Marillion were scratching around looking for another opener, their guitarist Steve Rothery said “What about John? I’ve heard some of the stuff he’s written and it’s pretty good” so they gave him the job. I think he was still doing his guitar tech duties on that tour so he must have been pretty knackered by the end of it! Anyway, I was really impressed with his performance that night, for a guy standing on stage on his own with an acoustic guitar he seemed to impress most of the people in the Barrowlands Ballroom. So I grabbed a copy of his CD (“Under A Red And White Sky”) from the merch stand – and was even more impressed when I listened to the studio versions of the songs.

And then I kinda forgot about the guy for about 10 years. The CD still made it into the player from time to time, but as I’d heard nothing about him other than his guitar work on Fish’s “Fellini Days” album, I never really thought to look for any more of his stuff.

But in 2003 I heard Porcupine Tree for the first time. I’d heard of them for a few years, but my preconception (mainly from their name, but also from the fact they were pretty popular among Marillion fans who tend to have pretty dodgy tastes!) was that they would be beardie weirdie prog rockers, which really isn’t my scene. But then I heard that amazon.ca had made a booboo with their pricing of “In Absentia” and were offering the DVD-A version for 99 cents. About the price of a Mars bar. With postage, about the price of a pint. So I ordered it. When it arrived I stuck it in the DVD player and almost flew back into the wall when the guitars from “Blackest Eyes” kicked in! I loved the whole album, and now own everything by them that isn’t out of print and trading for silly money on eBay. But back to that day – as I picked my jaw back off the floor and leafed through the inlay booklet, I spotted that some of the guitars on “Blackest Eyes” and the backing vocals on several tracks were by Mr Wesley. I found out later that he had first met Steven Wilson while working with Fish, so maybe I should have read the inlay booklet for Fish’s “Sunsets On Empire” CD a little closer – a lot of it is co-written by Steven Wilson, and he contributes guitars and keyboards to it as well. If I’d known that my preconceptions of Porcupine Tree might have been a bit different!

Anyway, I’ve seen a lot more of John Wesley since then, as he’s a regular member of Porcupine Tree’s tour line-up, who I would crawl over broken glass to watch. Thankfully I haven’t had to do that yet, although if it was an option I’d maybe choose it over lining Ticketmaster’s pockets.

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You can check out more of John Wesley’s back catalogue here

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This blog is intended as a way to spread the word about music I really like, and encourage others to support artists who are making great music. "Try before you buy", if you like. If you hear something you like here, go and buy it - I'll post links to online shops where you can buy each track I blog about.

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