"Music, like other art forms, allows beauty and feeling out into the world. When I play, I want it to be memorable. I’m expressing my inner most feelings."
Reese Wynans: Sweet Soul Feeling
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame member and world-renowned Nashville-based keyboardist Reese Wynans released his first-ever solo album Sweet Release (2019), a collection of songs honoring a paramount selection of blues-rock legends. The long anticipated album comes following a career that’s spanned over 50 years and literally hundreds of historical collaborations. Sweet Release also serves as Joe Bonamassa’s inaugural credit as a producer. Bonamassa has long been a fan of Wynans’ work, urging him to create a solo album and championing the project as producer. Scan the history books and he’s there on every page: a vital strand of rock ‘n’ roll DNA, present at a thousand cultural flashpoints. Over the last five decades, you might have found him cutting his teeth with the early nucleus of the Allman Brothers Band or taking the stage with Boz Scaggs. Maybe you remember him bringing on the rise of Outlaw Country in Austin with Jerry Jeff Walker or saving the ’80s blues scene with Rock and Roll Hall Of Fame inductees Stevie Ray Vaughan & Double Trouble or most recently bringing his blues to the people with Joe Bonamassa.
Adding his thumbprint on piano and B3, Reese has worked with the likes of Larry Carlton, Delbert McClinton, Los Lonely Boys, Joe Ely, Doug Sahm, Brooks & Dunn, Trisha Yearwood, Martina McBride, Hank Williams Jr., Buddy Guy – and many more. Not to mention, his roughly 500 live shows with Willie Nelson, unforgettable performance with Captain Beyond for the Sufficiently Breathless record, and three albums with Carole King.The fact is Reese Wynans is everywhere. For a full half-century, Wynans has been the engine-room behind America’s greatest roots music. With Sweet Release, this modest legend has delivered the long-awaited solo album that puts his own name top of the bill and places his world-class talent in the spotlight.
How has the Blues and Rock counterculture influenced your views of the world in your journey you’ve taken?
I started playing blues and rock over 50 years ago. During that span, a lot of things have changed. The culture of music has been important in eliminating stereotypes and giving everyone a chance to ply and be heard. It wasn’t always that way.
How do you describe your sound, music philosophy, and songbook?
My sound- Gritty, beautiful, soulful, take no prisoners, bad intentions. My music philosophy - Play it with a feeling. When it’s your time, bring it! My songbook contains glimpses of everything I’ve experienced, everywhere I’ve been, and everyone I’ve heard.
Which meetings have been the most important experiences for you? What’s the best advice anyone ever gave you?
When I met Stevie Ray Vaughan, Tommy Shannon, and Chris Layton. Delbert McClinton said “Play it from your heart “, and also “Don’t leave your wallet in the dressing room “.
"My sound- Gritty, beautiful, soulful, take no prisoners, bad intentions. My music philosophy - Play it w a feeling. When it’s your time, bring it! My songbook contains glimpses of everything I’ve experienced, everywhere I’ve been, and everyone I’ve heard." (Photo: Reese Wynans, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Tommy Shannon, and Chris Layton, Orpheum Theater, Boston MA 1986)
Are there special memories from gigs or sessions?
A lot of my favorite gigs were at Red Rocks. I loved the Muddy Waters / Howling Wolf gig there with Joe Bonamassa. Of course, Stevie Ray Vaughan and Double Trouble at Madison Square Garden. And Delbert McClinton at Cains Ballroom.
What do you miss nowadays from the music of the past? What are your hopes and fears for the future of music?
Sometimes I feel like there are not as many good songs today as there were when I was younger. Back then bands seemed like they were less focused on hits and more on expressing themselves.
If you could change one thing in the musical world, what would it be?
I would make radio play more interesting music.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in your music career?
You have to have great chops, but you also have to know when to use them. Listening to the other players and finding your spot is the most important thing.
What is the impact of music in socio-cultural implications? How do you want it to affect people?
"I started playing blues and rock over 50 years ago. During that span, a lot of things have changed. The culture of music has been important in eliminating stereotypes and giving everyone a chance to ply and be heard. It wasn’t always that way."
Let’s take a trip with a time machine - Where would you want to go for a day?
Ok. A time machine. Maybe I would see Pink Floyd at Albert Hall, or Elvis at Caesar’s Palace. Professor Longhair at Tipitinas, or the Allman Brothers at the Fillmore. Hard to pick a single one.
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