James Wesley
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James Wesley

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2009 | SELF | AFTRA

Nashville, Tennessee, United States | SELF | AFTRA
Established on Jan, 2009
Band Country Roots




"James Wesley"

"I’ve always been a big believer in tradition,” declares James Wesley. “A lot of the old ways are the best ways: family, God, treating people right, doing what you’re supposed to do. I think it’s time to come back to what’s real. That’s what country music is about.”

James Wesley puts those core values into his music with a whiskey-smooth voice and a timelessly winning way with a great country song. Wesley sings directly to real people about real things that profoundly affect real lives—and from his small-town upbringing to his blue-collar work ethic, he has a deep understanding of what those folks are longing to hear. “I know there’s more people out there than just me who want to hear something that grabs you and makes you go, ‘Wow, that’s me—that’s how I feel, that’s my day, that’s my family,’” he says. “When you swing a hammer every day, when you’re out there doing what you have to do, you learn a lot of compassion for the people that do it day in and day out.”

Wesley grew up in tiny Mound Valley, a community of about 200 people in Southeastern Kansas. He first discovered country music via his grandmother’s record collection, which included heaping helpings of classic crooners like Marty Robbins, George Jones and Ray Price. “We’d go over there on the weekends,” he recalls. “She’d have the console set up and the records stacked up and we’d listen to them as they dropped. Those guys back then, they could sing. I thought, ‘That’s what I want to do.’”

His mother was the first to notice Wesley’s own talent for singing when she overheard him belting out his favorite songs behind his bedroom door. “I thought if I shut my door I blocked everybody out, but evidently I didn’t block Mom out,” he says with a chuckle. “She heard me and said, ‘I’d love to have you sing in church.’ So that’s what I did.” Soon he taught himself to play guitar on an old Stella practice model. “I’ve got it to this day,” he says. “You can still see where I wore down the D, C and G chords on the fretboard.” By his late teens he was singing in local nightclubs and beginning to think about making music his life. “I’d sit in my bedroom and stare out of the window and dream of being out there, getting to see the world,” he remembers. His first move in that direction was to Eureka Springs, Arkansas, where he performed in a nightly music and variety show. There he met his wife, Mindee, with whom he now has two young children—and finally set his sights on Nashville. “I could have stayed in Eureka Springs for the rest of my life, but I just had to chase the dream,” he says. “I had to follow my gut.”

He and Mindee sold their house and almost everything in it, rented a moving truck and headed for Music City. Once there, Wesley took a construction job to make ends meet and began learning the ropes of the Nashville music business. He met hit songwriter Rodney Clawson and producer Dan Frizsell, and the three began recording together. Their work caught the attention of Broken Bow Records, which signed Wesley in December and quickly released the very first song on his original demo, “Jackson Hole,” as his debut single. The tune (penned by Clawson and Monty Criswell) immediately began racing up the charts, driven by listeners who loved its vivid story of fleeting love in a snowy setting. “Jackson Hole” offered fans an upfront introduction to the more vulnerable aspects of Wesley’s personality. “Growing up with three sisters, I’ve got a sensitive side too,” he says with a smile. “But I’m proud that I have that side, that I’m not callous. The only thing calloused about me is my hands.” The breakout success of “Jackson Hole” instantly validated the enormous risk Wesley took in uprooting his family from Eureka Springs for an uncertain future in Nashville was worth it. “My family has seen all the ups and downs,” he says. “There’s been a lot of hard work. There’s been times it wasn’t easy, and they’ve been there the whole time. They’re great.” It also meant that Wesley’s days of construction work were over. “Thank God I get to put the hammer down, at least for a while,” he says with a laugh. “It’s nice to be able to do what I love to do.”

James Wesley hopes to do what he loves to do for a long time to come. “I want to be in it for the long haul,” he says. “I want to do those songs that everybody wants to hear, and that everybody can feel. I want to be the guy who tells the stories, and tells it like it is.” - City of Yucaipa

"James Wesley finds place in country music food chain Makes Theatre DeVille debut"

James Wesley might be seeing 50 on the horizon, but the country singer that’s risen from a small Kansas town to respected Nashville road warrior still can’t believe he’s performed with some of the industry icons. Basically, he’s like a kid in an iPhone store.
Blake Shelton. Travis Tritt. Dwight Yoakam.

“Big hitters,” Wesley acknowledged. “I’ve been fortunate to play some shows with those guys, but I’m still in awe at times. I have to tell myself we all put our pants on one leg at a time.”

Almost forgot. Vince Gill, “so humble and a down-to-earth guy,” and Leroy Parnell, with Wesley finding himself sitting between the two back-stage.
“Good Lord, I’m thinking, ‘This is crazy. I’m back here with these guys,’” Wesley said. “Here I am, coming from a town of 200. It still gets me.”
Wesley isn’t without his own credits, including Billboard charting hits “Real,” “Didn’t I,” “Jackson Hole,” “Walking Contradition,” and “Thank a Farmer.”
The 49-year-old from Mound Valley, Kan., will hoist those hits and cuts from his latest EP to the Theatre DeVille stage Friday, making his Vacaville debut after playing the Yolo County Fair in Woodland last August.
Not that it matters — since it is an indoor gig — but the 83 degree forecast in Vacaville is fine and dandy with Wesley, who has survived some harrowing weather challenges in his career. Take that outdoor gig one time in upstate New York. Supposed to be in a tent. But there was no tent.
“My fingers were so cold, I could barely move them,” Wesley said. “I’m glad I didn’t have to sing more than five songs.”
Then there was that casino gig in Wisconsin when Wesley drove from Illinois on black ice and a foot of snow. Leaving a few guitars in the trailer in 50 below? Not a good idea.
Yet, “people showed up. They came in on snowmobiles,” said a still-amazed Wesley.
Then again, expect the unexpected when touring, a constant for Wesley.
“There’s always something that comes up; a wrench thrown into the gears. After awhile, you get kinda used to it,” Wesley said. “I do think it gets easier, a little more set into the groove of what to expect.”
A four-month performing hiatus last year may seem like a nice break from the road, but it “drove me crazy,” Wesley said. “Once it gets into your blood, it’s part of your soul.”
Fortunately, nothing totally insane or health-threatening has happened during a show, Wesley said. Oh, there was a time a rope was strung across the stage with bras hanging off of it.
“You always expect weird stuff,” Wesley said. Like someone shouting “Lynyrd Skynyrd!” during a show. Sorry. No dice.
“After so many years, we really don’t do covers any more,” Wesley said.
Nope, it’s all originals, with “Runnin’” the latest offering from the prolific country song writer.
“You have to be in a different state of mind to sit down, write and have that creative side where it just kind of flows,” Wesley said. “When that happens and the song keeps coming, man, you can’t believe it.”
Wesley’s written tunes in an hour or 90 minutes, though “sometimes it takes months or even a year to finish.”
Then again, “you never know” if a song you thought would do well doesn’t and vice versa, Wesley said.
“Sometimes you think, ‘Man, this is a great song’ and it doesn’t meet expectations,” Wesley said. “It’s definitely disappointing. But then there’s that one you think is not that great that ends up climbing the charts and doing really well.”
The point of most songs, he said, is to connect with the audience.
“I had a buddy call me the other day. He heard ‘Runnin” and said, ‘That’s my life story’ and his voice was cracking, saying ‘You wrote that song for me.’ That’s the cool thing about it. Sometimes you don’t know how it touches someone.”
Even raised a little Kansas town, Wesley believed his future would be where it is.
“I’d daydream, staring out the window,” Wesley said, looking back and laughing. “That dream was way big for this little town. I guess God must have heard it. I’m still amazed, still thankful. I’m getting to do what I love to do.”
The best performing moment?
“It’s just the night when everything seems to be perfect and people are hangin’ on every word and every note is being played by the guys in the band and people are dancing and singing along with you,” Wesley said. “It doesn’t get any better than that.”
James Wesley performs this Friday, 8 p.m.,Theatre DeVille, Vacaville. For more, visit theatredeville.com. - The Reporter

"James Wesley Talks New Music, Touring With Taylor Swift and Connecting With Fans of All Ages"

Rising Broken Bow Records artist James Wesley is quickly building a strong foundation for a life and career in the country music industry. Wesley's forthcoming new album, 'Real,' is slated to hit stores later this year, but he has already delivered three songs from the album to country radio, including the title track, 'Jackson Hole,' and his latest Top 40 hit, 'Didn't I.'
As fans anxiously await the release of the singer's first album with the label, he is keeping their fire going strong by touring coast-to-coast on many high profile tours, including last year's Cold Beers and Reindeers Tour and most recently, Taylor Swift's Speak Now Tour, which he will be on through October.
Taste of Country recently caught up with the charming and talented singer to discuss his new music, life on the road and keeping it 'real.'
What can we expect from your debut album?
I think people are going to be a little surprised about what is on there. I grew up being pretty open to music. The only thing I really don’t listen to is rap [laughs]. I grew up listening to a lot of the '50s and' 60s rock 'n' roll, working in the garage, and also the traditional country artists. My grandmother was a big influence in that area. This album has everything. It covers all ages, and that's what is pretty crazy about doing this Taylor Swift tour, is the songs I have connect with people from 5-years-old up to 60-years-old, who come up and talk to me about the songs. There are a few that sound very traditional, and there are some that are just rockin'! We've been playing these songs out on the road, and it's been so cool to watch the crowd and see their reactions to the new songs. You can see which ones really work. It's a pretty awesome feeling when you are playing a song, and you see somebody's eyes light up. There are songs on there for everybody.
What songs are you most excited about your fans hearing from the album?
There is a song called 'Waking Up the Rooster,' and another song that's called 'Walking Contradiction.' I also have a song that we are doing on tour called 'How Much Do You Love Me,' which is really upbeat. It goes, 'How much do you love me? / How far would you go? / Would you search for me? / Do you love me that much?' And we've got one called 'You Should Be Here With Me,' that to me kind of reminds me of an old high school dance ... sitting on the gym floor, looking across the room and seeing this guy dancing with a girl that you'd really love to dance with or even just have the opportunity to talk to, and he's the kind of guy who is basically a jerk and you think, "I can't believe she is with this guy! I would do anything for her, if she was only mine!" Then, of course, we've got my new single which is 'Didn't I,' that is 35 on the charts this week. It's jumped six spots [this week], which is pretty wild.
You are already three singles deep into the album, so what kind of feedback have you been getting on them?
'Didn't I' is my third single. 'Jackson Hole' was the first single, but when we released it, it was the end of November. I actually signed [with Broken Bow Records] mid-November, and we released the single at the end of November. Radio goes on a couple weeks of hiatus for Christmas and the holidays, so the reason we did that is because it was kind of a winter song, and we were just trying to get something out there that was more of a spring song. That is when 'Real' was released. 'Jackson Hole' went to No. 47, I believe, and 'Real' went to No. 22. It was amazing what that song did for me as far as kick starting my career because even at 22, so many people heard that song. It was crazy how it was played so much by so many stations. They played the fire out of the song! It was No. 1 at a lot of different stations. I go out and do this song now, and people are singing it with me. There's nothing better than that feeling of standing up onstage and having people sing your song back to you. It's unreal ... it really is. You work so hard to get a record deal, and you find a song that you hope will connect with people, and when it does, it's just unbelievable. That's been fun on this Taylor Swift tour, too. That song, no matter what age the people are who are listening to it, they connect to it. I know I did. When I first moved to Nashville I worked construction for the first five years before I got my deal, so it really struck me, and I felt like the song could really be something because there are a lot of people that are in the same boat I'm in for sure.
Did you write many of the songs on your album?
We had a couple songs that we were going to put on there, but I think we're going to wait until the second album. I've been doing a lot of writing in the last few months, kind of building up some material for the album. Kyle Jacobs, who was one of the co-writers on 'Didn't I,' wrote a song with me called 'Burning Love.' It has a really cool Chris Isaak/Roy Orbison kind of feel, which is kind of cool. I look for those songs that are really different with the melody and the whole shape of the song ... of course the words they help too [laughs]! Songwriters have such a gift. To be able to sit down and write a song, and have everybody relate to it, and then for them to give up a song to a newcomer ... that's a big deal. They could have given these songs to anybody! I am fortunate enough to be a part of these songs.
How was the vibe in the studio while recording?
It was really comfortable. When I moved back [to Nashville] in 2006, I was working construction all over the place, and I'd get off work after pouring concrete and laying tile and stone, and I would be a nasty mess. My good friend Michael Martin who had Extreme Publishing would let me come in there and listen to the old and new catalog, and I kept seeing this guy Rodney Clawson’s name. I would always think, 'Man ... who is this guy? He's got some great songs!' So I asked if there was any way I could meet him because I'd really like to talk to him. So Michael set us up one day, and I was hanging out with Rodney. He grew up in a little town in Texas and was a farmer, and I grew up in a town with 200 people, just a small little farming community. So we hit it off, and I told him that I loved the songs he writes. They are simple songs, but there is so much to them. So we talked, and about two or three months later, he called me up while I was cutting down some old trees and clearing this guys backyard for him, and he said, "Hey James ... Let's go in and cut some songs!" I was like, "Man, that would be great, but I just don't have the money to do that right now." He said, "I didn't ask you if you had money; I want you to come in and sing." So that's what we did. We went into the studio with Dan Frizzell, who is the other co-producer, and we all had a big part in how we wanted the music to sound and just a feel for the album. It was a great environment. It was relaxed, and that's a big part of [recording]. When you go in there and you can just be relaxed and not be so high strung or tense, because it will show on the record. The inflection of your voice even ... the tone and everything. So we went in and cut these songs.
You're currently out on the road with Taylor on the Speak Now Tour. How has the run been for you?
It's crazy when you go from playing a conference room at a radio station, where it's maybe just you and another guitar player, to then play with a full band at some of the clubs and honky tonks with Luke Bryan, Josh Thompson and Miranda Lambert. But it's pretty cool to go from those size venues to the first show in Foxboro, Mass. that we had with Taylor ... it was like holy cow [laughs]! It was unreal when we walked out there just to do soundcheck that day. We're standing there in the New England Patriots stadium and looking out at all those seats thinking, "We're right here on the 40 yard line, and we've got all these people who are going to be here tonight!" It's just mind blowing. Then you do the soundcheck, and you think you've got the monitors loud enough, but then when everybody gets in there, it's like a whole new world. There were probably 200 or 300 people in just the pit right in front of me ... that's like my entire hometown in that little pit [laughs]! That first night it was definitely overwhelming, standing there in front of that many people. When you go from playing anywhere from 500-4,000 people to almost 60,000 people, it just blows your mind. - Taste of Country


  • Signed to Warner Bros. in 1999 as James Prosser, released one album (Life Goes On) before adopting the Wesley moniker

  • 2009 Inked a deal with Broken Bow Records, and released the single "Jackson Hole." landing at #41 on the Billboard Hot Country
  • 2010 second single, "Real" topped the Billboard charts at #22

  • 2011 released "Didn't I" reaching #24 on Billboard

  • 2013 “Thank a Farmer” released during Super Bowl in took off after Dodge's Ram Trucks advert "God Made A Farmer" was America's favorite new commercial spot. The song, however, was written before the commercial. Josh Thompson and Dustin Lynch co-wrote the song.

  • Career highlight was being asked to be a part of the Merle Haggard tribute album titled "Working Man's Poet", (Released in April of 2014). The two "Hag" songs performed by James, were "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive" and "The Fightin' Side of me."
  • Self-titled EP Set to be released May 10, 2019. The upcoming EP will feature 5 all-new James Wesley originals!



Country singer/songwriter James Wesley was born and raised in Mound Valley, Kansas.

James was signed to Warner Bros. in 1999 as James Prosser, he released one album Life Goes On before adopting the Wesley moniker.

After relocating to Nashville, Wesley hooked up with songwriter Rodney Clawson and producer Dan Frizzell, inked a deal with Broken Bow Records, and released the single "Jackson Hole." The song debuted at #41 on the Billboard Hot Country Songs charts, and was followed in 2010 by a second single, "Real" that topped the charts at #22, followed by "Didn't I" at #24 In 2011.

James found a new level of exposure when he was the opening act for two weeks of superstar Taylor Swift's Speak Now tour. He continued touring and more singles followed in anticipation for Wesley's debut album, Real, including "Walking Contradiction," "Thank A Farmer" and "Hooked Up" which appeared in 2012, 2013 and 2015.

James continues touring and playing corporate events across the country. One of the highlights of James Career, was being asked to be a part of the Merle Haggard tribute album titled "Working Man's Poet", (Released in April of 2014). The two "Hag" songs performed by James, were "I'm a Lonesome Fugitive" and "The Fightin' Side of me".​

James recently released his new EP, self-titled, James Wesley  released May 10, 2019 which features 5 all-new James Wesley originals!

Band Members