Artist: Wes Bayliss of The Steel Woods
Hometown: Woodland, Alabama
Latest Album: Old News
Which artist has influenced you the most … and how?
My grandpa is one of my biggest musical influences. I grew up in a very musical family. Although most of them had a hand in teaching me about music, the most influential as far as style goes was Grandpa. I remember all us kids would be trying to watch TV when he would grab a guitar and start picking and pretty soon we were gathered around trying to pick along with him.
What’s your favorite memory from being on stage?
One of my favorite memories of being on stage would have to be the first time we played the Opry. It was not at the very top of my bucket list so I couldn’t have anticipated the feeling of standing in the circle. There are so many people that have dreamed of being on that stage all of their life and never got the chance. Realizing that in the moment was one of the most humbling feelings in the world.
What was the first moment that you knew you wanted to be a musician?
My family had a southern gospel band when I was a kid so we were on the road a lot. One day when I was eight, my uncle bought me a harmonica at Cracker Barrel. I’m sure he immediately regretted that when he realized I was gonna blow it until my lungs gave out and we were all stuck on a bus together for hours at a time. He finally told me if I was gonna be making noise I would have to start making it sound good so I did just that. With his help I learned a few cross harp licks and joined the band within weeks. I knew then that music was gonna be my thing.
What rituals do you have, either in the studio or before a show?
We don’t do much as far as pre-show rituals other than the one most important thing for any musician to do before playing. Tune your instrument! I still fail to do that until I get on stage from time to time.
Since food and music go so well together, what is your dream pairing of a meal and a musician?
If I understand this question correctly I would like to pair country fried steak, double hash brown casserole, fried okra and a sweet tea, with myself! I would follow that with a hearty helping of blackberry cobbler and of course, I would have to follow that with a day of fasting.
Photo credit: Alyssa Gafkjen