Every so often I encounter a new artist that really gets me fired up. Since I entered the blogosphere a little over a year ago, my opportunity to discover these upstart talents has been an unexpected benefit. Nashville’s Wes Charlton is one of those artists. All I can say is watch out. This kid is special. His new album World on Fire was recently released on Judy Collins’ Wildflower records. He is a roots influenced singer-songwriter who is a talented lyricist and composer. He is only 24 years but World on Fire is evocative of more established songwriters like a Ryan Adams. His music has Americana undertones but it is equally contemporary.
The album starts out with the slow, brooding but deeply moving “Daytime Blues.” Then it moves to the more rocking angst ridden “Still Here,” which is reflective on a life Charlton seems to feel is beyond his control. In fact, this is a recurring theme he returns to on other songs like “Red Eyes, Blue Lights.” The uncontrollable circumstances of life is a concept that makes the album very relevant to the listener. In fact, sometimes the circumstances of our life are our on doing. “My heart is broken. I paid the cost. I had to get free but all I got was lost.” (“The Wait.”). He also comments on our failed attempts to break free by invoking Icarus and his wax wings on “Change Will Come.” Musically the album is never stale and even gets adventurous when mixing banjo with electric guitar. Wes Charlton is just getting started and I have a feeling we will be hearing more about him in the future.
This review also appears on Twangville