THOMAS WYNN & THE BELIEVERSBrevard County Performance Debut.
I'd first seen this kick ass band about 4 1/2 years ago when they stole (and won) a killer battle of the bands at the Hard Rock Live in Orlando. They were on fire that night, and I instantly became a huge fan.
About a year later I attended the band's "Brother & Sisters" CD release party @ Orlando's Back Booth the week of my birthday in January '12. It was rockin' packed house for an energized performance. The Cd remains one of my favorites, and I play tracks regularly on the radio show I host.
On this particular Saturday evening in downtown Melbourne, Mr.Wynn & crew proved to me that this band is just as bad ass as ever (if not badder), performing 3 sets for the new Brevard blood. Unfortunately I could only stay for two sets, but in the few hours I was there the crowd steadily grew. Most out of their sets dancing and lovin' the band.
The difference for me this time seeing them live, was the other two times I'd seen them the were showcasing their original material. Although this time there were plenty of those, their were some really great covers too. Songs like: Up on Cripple Creek; Into The Mystic; The Shape I'm In, and Gypsy Queen. Nailing the essence of all those great tunes, yet making them distinctly Believers tunes.
Thomas is not only great songwriter & guitarist (playing my favorite model, the Gibson SG) , he's also an amazing singer. So is Olivia, who sings by her big brother's side. My god, when these two sing, whether harmonizing quietly on a ballad, or rockin' at the top of their lungs, they sound incredible together. Goosebumps time.
The reason I said I thought the band might even be better, is along with the blistering harmonica of Chris Bell, the solid drums and bass of Ryan Miranda & Dave Wagner, there is a new edition to the band: the very talented Colin Fei on keyboards. This is straight forward All American rock & rock band with a folk heart, and a Southern soul. (Thomas and Olivia being direct decedents of original Southern Rock Royalty, after all...their father was the original drummer for the legendary band COWBOY, Capricorn Records label mates of the Allman Bros.
I imagine Thomas Wynn & The Believers (along with peers like Blackberry Smoke) carrying on the legacy of the likes of Allman Brothers; Mountain; Tom Petty; The Rossington Collins Band; Beck Bogart & Appice; The Black Crowes, Bonnie Raitt, Bonnie Bramblett, and of course Cowboy...with a bit of a contemporary edge.
The covers that night were great, but I wanted to hear the band's original tunes. It's really hard to pick my favorite tunes from the Brothers & Sisters CD, but along with the covers performed, and some new tunes, the band played several that I play frequently on "On The FlipSide" - the powerful ballad(?) I Don't Regret, and the epic, growling, gritty guitar howler Black November.
We were trying to arrange to have Thomas & Olivia in the studio @ WFIT prior to this gig, but being their first time in this area, they decided their time that day may be best used focusing on the gig. Which is good because it looks like they will be coming back to town soon, and I'm promised they will come to the studio, and we'll do something special then.
Thomas tells me that he and Olivia have a CD, and tour of just the two of them coming in a few months, than hopefully soon to be followed by a new Believers disc...and of course lots more live gigs!
Check out the Band!
And please tune into "ON THE FLIPSIDE" w/ Java John:
Saturdays @ 6pm on WFIT 89.5fm, Public Radio for Melbourne Florida
Listen Online: www.wfit.org