R. Wesley Carr may be a new name as a bluegrass recording artist, but he has already dedicated many years of his life to the music.
Growing up in Chicago, he experienced the rich cultural life of the city, but always kept his love for the bluegrass and southern Gospel he heard with family near his birthplace in Ohio, along the West Virginia border. Wes is a proficient multi-instrumentalist, and gained distinction as the winner of the 2019 National Mandolin Championship in Winfield, KS, not long after graduating from the bluegrass program at ETSU. There he had the chance to study mandolin with Adam Steffey, while also beefing up his songwriting chops.
Like many musicians did, Carr spent much of the 2020 down time working on a debut album of his original material, recording remotely with bluegrassers he knows from both his Chicago roots, and his Tennessee experience in college. From the Windy City he has Greg Cahill of Special Consensus on banjo, and from the Volunteer State, Becky Buller joins on fiddle. Wes handles mandolin, bass, and lead/harmony vocals, with Clint Morgan on guitar.
A debut single is available this week, Half A Mind, which is Carr’s creative take on the bluegrass leaving song, playing lyrically with how a desire to leave can be undermined by indecision.
He says that things came together well on this project, and that he is grateful for the support he received from fellow pickers.
“I’m super proud of this album, and I think this song encapsulates all the best parts. Greg, Becky, and Clint shine on each note and I’m honored to have gotten to make this with them.”
Have a listen…
Half A Mind is available now as a download from Carr’s web site. Radio programmers will find the track at AirPlay Direct.
Pre-orders for his full album, Restless Wanderer, are enabled online as well, with delivery expected in late November.
You can learn more about the album in this clever promotional video, working on the concept of reverse psychology.