February 21st, 2020 8pm Stage 1
Celebrating Rockwood Music Hall’s 15-Year Anniversary!
Growing up in a large family, Luke Wesley’s musical influences were all over the place. Born and raised in the small north central Ohio farm town of Shelby, he spent his time listening to anything from Dion and the Belmonts and The Beatles to Guns N’ Roses and The Clash. The variety of influences coming into the household helped shape Luke’s pop rock brand. “There was always a cassette tape from a Billboard compilation that I was desperately trying to wear out. That combined with the eclectic tastes of my older brothers made for an interesting cornucopia of music around the house.” says Luke.
In Elementary school he started learning percussion, but later, in High School, things began to take off musically as Luke started to teach himself piano. Today he has taken those musical influences and the percussive attack on piano to craft a decidedly unique modern brand of blue eyed soul. Luke’s smoky, soulful voice drew comparisons on his debut album (Because We Never Talk About It) to the likes of Marc Cohn and Bruce Hornsby.
On his sophomore effort (Who Are We Kidding?), Luke set out with producer Chris Cubeta to take his music in a matured direction. What they created is a collection of songs that groove and flow like Wesley’s first record, but with a more concise lyrical style coupled with giant synth sounds.
The bulk of this second album was written just before and during recording on a much more accelerated timeline than used previously. Says Luke: “This album was made in a year, from the time I started writing the songs to the time we finished mastering. It was a lot quicker than I had ever done before. The challenge of coming up with 25 songs in a handful of months and then working with those songs to come up with something that you can pare down and be really proud of…it’s gratifying.”
But Luke recognizes that this album was a collaborative effort, “I wrote these songs and then brought them to my regular band (Dave Burnett & Mike Tuccillo). We worked for a few days on tightening up arrangements and figuring out how we wanted to make the songs work, and then we went into the studio with Cubeta. At that point it was a lot of Chris and I going back and forth in the control room as we developed the album you hear now.
“I wanted to make a group of songs that went together stylistically and conceptually, but I get bored easily sometimes so I also wanted the album to have a diversity in its influences.” Luke said about the album, “I think that Chris and I achieved that.”