TGS PLAYER SPOTLIGHT - BOY WELLS


Boy Wells Spotlight


"Tin Winter" from his CD Blue Skies Calling
TGS Spotlight Player from July 19, 2012

Blue Skies Calling introduces music fans to a largely undiscovered stellar guitarist and musical master in Boy Wells. Wells is a veteran of the southern rock scene that was rooted in the geographical and multi-stylistic pocket around the nation’s capital, who now resides in the artistically fertile hills of Central Texas. Blues Skies Calling is a harmonic and sonic - as well as personal and spiritual - journey through the musical tradition at the heart of the American roots idiom that bloomed below the Mason-Dixon Line. With the guitar of Boy Wells as the guide, Blue Skies Calling travels through blues, rock ‘n’ roll, country, bluegrass, jazz and more to reveal a rare and brilliant instrumentalist, songwriter and singer steeped in the musical real deal. A friend and protégé of the late, great guitar legend Danny Gatton, Wells made his bones with countless gigs, many road miles and uncounted hours in the studio, and now steps into the spotlight to share all that he knows and feels about music and life as well as his instrumental prowess, touch and emotive power.


Boy Wells started playing guitar at the age of 16 when he heard a Duane Allman solo on The Allman Brothers Band classic, “In Memory of Elizabeth Reed.” “Before that, I never even considered playing guitar,” he remembers. “I was stunned by the guitar; it seemed to ‘speak’ on a spiritual level to me. I've been playing ever since that day.


“I grew up in the same area Danny Gatton was from in southern Maryland. I met Danny when I was around 17 after a friend of his heard me cranking an amp outside one day and introduced me to Gatton. He became a mentor to me and gave me many lessons, advice, rides in old cars, guitar repair gigs, old car parts etc. - you name it.”


Boy Wells started playing professionally in the Washington, DC, area in the late 70s, working the country bars on U.S. Route 1 in Virginia and Maryland. He hit a few early high notes opening for the likes of Maybelle Carter, the Osborne Brothers and Billy Joe Shaver.


Moving into more blues and southern rock into the early 80s, Wells started a band called Blue Southern and played DC clubs like Danny Gatton’s Beneath It All, The Crazy Horse and Desperadoes, when the country rock and southern blues scene was vibrant in the DC area and outward. For several years during that time, he played at the annual 4th of July big celebration shows on the Washington Monument grounds, opening for artists such as The Beach Boys, The Ventures and others.


During the mid to late 80s, he played in the modern rock band called The Habits. “You couldn’t buy a blues gig at the time in the DC area,” he recalls. “I played with that band at area clubs and we did small tours up and down the east coast.” After that, in the early 90s, Wells played in an Allman Brothers tribute band - Southern Legend - with former Molly Hatchet drummer Bruce Crump, while also playing in several other blues bands as well throughout Virginia and the South.


After tragedy struck his family and he lost both his son and daughter, Boy Wells moved to a town outside of Austin in 2006 and started playing in the clubs in Austin and that entire region of Texas. After a bout with Meniere’s Disease (a debilitating disorder of the inner ear that can affect hearing and balance), which laid him up for literally a couple of years, Boy Wells got back into writing and recording, which became the genesis for the release of Blue Skies Calling.


The new album was recorded by Dave Hanbury at House of Jam Recording in Beltsville, Maryland, and features Boy Wells on vocals, lead, slide and acoustic guitar, joined by a cast of stellar musicians, including former Danny Gatton bassist John Prevetti, drummer Bruce Crump (Molly Hatchet) and Rickie Simpkins on violin and mandolin, whose credits include work with Emmylou Harris. Other players include Andy Hamburger on drums, Bill Watson on saxes, Brian Simms on keyboards, Jimi Lee on harmonica, Brad Clements on trumpet and Becky Taylor on banjo.


A special bonus on the Blue Skies Calling CD is the inclusion of a CD-ROM featuring a one-hour guitar lesson given to Wells by Danny Gatton. “I played a 1955 Les Paul of Danny’s for over 20 years,” said Boy Wells. “Danny called me before he died and asked me to put a vocal tape together for his label at the time. He needed a singer after his singer, Billy Windsor, had passed. He remained a friend, a good one all those years. This lesson was in the late 70s; it’s me and Danny in the living room of his house on Holly Lane in Indian Head Maryland. It’s killer stuff.”


Visit Boy Wells' website at www.boywells.com


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