George Wesley
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George Wesley

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, United States | Established. Jan 01, 1974 | INDIE

Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania, United States | INDIE
Established on Jan, 1974
Band Rock Reggae




"CD Reveiw by Kate Langenburg"

CD Review by Kate Langenburg
When you hear the word "reggae," you probably think of Bob Marley, Jamaica, and pot smoking. If you are shaking your head yes and are trying to think of more things that are stereotypically related to the genre, you are in the majority. But how about breaking out of those images you commonly envision? Here's something to break down those stereotypes - you can find real reggae right in your own backyard.

Good news for reggae fans you don't have to travel all the way to Jamaica to hear quality music. George Wesley, a local musician from Kingston, Pennsylvania, has been bringing the sound to Stroudsburg for quite some time now.

In his latest release "Hold On," Wesley's island vibes and good feelings bring a much needed break from the realities of the mundane work week. Adding to that is the fact that he usually plays once per month at Front Row Sports Bar of Stroudsburg, where music lovers can sip a tropical drink and relax while they listen to his music.

"Hold On" is filled with tracks that are very much reminiscent of an old school reggae style. Reggae icons that come to mind are Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Toots and the Maytals, and of course, Bob Marley.

Wesley manages to add a new sound to that old style, incorporating a synthesizer in the mix of instruments. This, in turn, helps him create the sounds of many other instruments, like trumpets, steel drums, and organs, right on his own guitar.

Speaking of which, I especially enjoy the steel drums in track five, which is entitled "This is the Sound." The instrumental tune features many sounds in Wesley's repertoire of instruments, but the steel drums steal the spotlight, giving the song a happy sunshine sound that makes me want to dance instantly. Besides the steel drums though, slide guitar, organ, and horns all take their turns, creating the get up and groove' feeling.

Almost all of the tunes on Wesley's new CD are uplifting and inspirational. That general emotion can be seen right in the song titles, such as "Hold On to Your Dreams," "Your Love's Got a Hold on Me," and "When I'm Next to You, I Feel Lucky." Wesley also preaches peace and love in his songs, an idea that perhaps comes very much from the Rastafari Movement.

All of the songs heard on "Hold On" also have an infectious groove that's almost impossible to ignore. Wesley's live shows come to mind here, in that there is always a group of people grooving right in front of the stage. One of the aspects of the music that makes it so easy to groove to is that many of the riffs remain uncomplicated and brief. The accompanying bass lines lay down a catchy back beat, helping the audience to really feel the deepest passions of reggae music.

Wesley shows all the signs of a talented musician, both on the CD and onstage. That is something that can not be overlooked. His live performances sound spectacular, like the CD, which is a clear indication that no doctoring has been done to the music in the studio.

For more information on George Wesley, please visit www. georgewesley. com or www. myspace. com/georgewesley.
His CD "Hold On" is available for purchase on either site.

- Stroudsburg Courier Times

"Hold On Reveiw"

MUSIC ON THE MENU: Wesley's spirit shines on new CD
by Alan K. Stout

George Wesley has been a fixture on the NEPA music scene for as long as many of us can remember, but such longevity isn't simply handed to anyone. You've got to work hard, and you've got to be good. And though Wesley's sound has always been anchored by a heavy Caribbean/reggae influence, he's also a crafty guitarist, a soulful vocalist, and has always been willing to pepper his songs with some rock, blues and even R&B.

For his new CD, titled "Hold On" — Wesley's eighth album and his first in three years — he's changed things up again. For this record, he wanted a more simple production process, yet later, when he played the songs live, he also wanted to be able to incorporate his latest musical exploration: looping.

"The whole idea is that we just did everything live in the studio, with no overdubs," says Wesley. "A lot of the songs were first time, first takes. We didn't even rehearse them. I just threw them at the guys, and what we got was what we got. And it was magic."

The CD was recorded at WVIA-FM studios and was produced by George Graham. Performing on the album with Wesley are Chris Condel on drums and Peter Fritz on bass. In the past, Wesley has recorded albums that were produced using a layered, multi-track format, but for "Hold On" he wanted the songs to feel live.

"That's kind of the whole vibe of the whole album," he says. "It's all based on loops. If I wanted to go out and do the entire album by myself, I can loop the entire thing."

Songs on the new CD include "Hold On To Your Dreams," "Ain't No Trouble," "Long Time," "This Is The Sound," "Don't Use Me" and "Fading Away," which Wesley describes as an improvised song "that I wrote on the spot at the wine festival up at Split Rock, on a rainy day." He says that, musically, he keeps on evolving.

"Every album that I've done, I've learned from," he says with a laugh. "Just when you think you know it all, you haven't got a clue. There's always something around the corner to surprise you."

Despite Wesley's intent to strip down the sound, don't think for one minute that "Hold On" is a garage-style low-grade recording. The production is excellent, the songs boom and the music shines. It also brilliantly captures the Caribbean feel for which he is best known.

"I think this is even more roots-reggae influenced," he says, adding that some tracks also come with a touch of R&B. "There's a lot of guitar on it, of course, but it's a trio. The sound is bigger than the band, and by looping, I can create a 10-piece band if I want.

"With my last album, I was really just exploring looping," he adds. "Now, I understand it, and it's become a real big part of my sound, and I'm lucky enough to have two guys that understand what I'm doing. It is not easy to play with live loops. They can be off a little bit, and you've gotta go with it. I've even heard this from (jazz great) John Scofield. When I first started getting into loops, he played at River Street, and he was talking about how sometimes there's a train wreck in the middle of the loop, and everybody has to know where it is, and that it happens at the same place every time. If you're not shook by it, you can ride with it."

Wesley's seen a lot in his years of gigging in NEPA and beyond. He's seen clubs come and go, but says he's always been fortunate enough to find new ones to play. He says he's appreciative of his longtime followers and the new ones he picks up each year and adds that the recent deaths of a few friends and musicians with whom he once played have given him an even greater perspective on life.

"The most important time is now," he says. "If we're having a good time, and we're healthy, and everything's in order, we can't really ask for much more."

Wesley will hold a CD-release party on Saturday at the River Street Jazz Cafe. In addition to his band, he'll be joined by Angelo Miraglia ..boards and Annette Miraglia on vocals and percussion. He says life in general still inspires his work and that much of his music is still inspired by his spirituality.

"It's constantly tested, as with everyone, but I'm trying to be positive," he says. "The world is full of stuff to crush people right now, and music, to me, and everyone in general … I think music is more important than ever. People need something to hang on with, and to hold on to."

- Weekender

"25th Anniversary Jam Article"

25 Years of Success
Ear Full
George Wesley looks back on his career in music
By Eric Scicchitano

George Wesley has seen a lot of change in the music industry during his 25-plus years as a touring artist — changes in style, distribution and marketing among the most drastic. Throughout it all he’s remained steady, gigging around the country and picking up fans and respect along the way for his fusion of reggae, rock and country influences. On Friday, May 15, he and more than a few friends will celebrate his 25th anniversary with a super jam at River Street Jazz Cafe.

Wesley recently spoke with ec/dc about his career and the music industry.

Tell me some of the early mechanisms you used to market yourself in the early days of your career?

Well the first release was a 45 on UCA Records in Utica (N.Y.). We took that to CBS Records and sat with Michael Kaplan. We had done the first record as a test to see where we were going. I wanted to play reggae. Actually, the A-side was called Coming Back for More; the B-side was Got A Lot of Love. We just kind of wanted to see where everything was at, and when we sent it out to different radio stations they wound up playing the B-side, which was the reggae side, more.

And that’s what you wanted the whole time, right?


Funny how things work out.

Yeah. But the funny thing is we got a chance to go talk to CBS Records and we gave the guy our single, and he said, you know, he listened to 10 seconds of the first side and was like, “Yeah, well, I heard it.” I told him the B-side was what really got all the attention, and he was like, “I don’t listen to B-sides.” That was the kind of demeanor record companies had in those days; hey, we are it, you are nothing. (Laughs.)

What about the actual scene of touring. Has it changed much?

I’ve seen a lot of returning back to the ’60s, ’70s idea about music. Well, you know, the ’80s, were just, I don’t know. It was an interesting time. I’ve been watching the youth especially return to vintage instruments. And vinyl!

Getting back to the releases, the next release we did was on cassette, and then we had a single off of that on vinyl. I put out a CD in 1990 and I didn’t even have a CD player to play it on. I couldn’t listen to the master because I didn’t have a player so I had to go to the studio to listen to the master.

The CD in 1990, was that the recording with Eddy Grant?

That was right after that. I actually recorded the CD in ’89 with The Irietations; that was my original, full blown Jamaican reggae band. And we were sponsored by Red Stripe beer.

That’s a pretty cool sponsorship to have.

You know, there was a lot of firsts. I was the first band that they ever endorsed and sponsored in the United States. They put us out on tour for a couple years and that’s how I hooked up with Eddy Grant. He flew us to Barbados and we recorded at Blue Wave studio where Sting recorded and the Rolling Stones. He told me, “Oh man, enjoy your life. Once you become famous everything changes.” I was like, “Oh, this is great. This is great. We’re going to the top.” We were supposed to start touring at the end of January in London, and we were playing a show at The Strand Theater in Watertown, N.Y. The Desert Storm started. There was about 10 people in the place and everybody was watching TV, watching the bombs go off. I was like, “Hmmmm, I don’t feel good about this.” Immediately they dropped the tour, they dropped everything.

Do you feel any vindication of having the success you’ve had as an independent?

Sure. It’s interesting the fact that I can go just about anywhere in the world and run into someone who knows me or has heard of me. It’s pretty wild. So I guess that’s success in a major way. And being on the Internet, I’ve allowed people to record my live shows, and they’re up on, and the downloads are incredible — thousands. … Now, as far as getting paid on the Internet … (Laughs.)

When you look back on your career, what are some of the accomplishments you’re most proud of?

I stuck with what I set out to do. Everybody told me that I couldn’t do what I do, and I’m doing it. That is success in itself. It’s hard work, but nothing isn’t hard work. Nothing that counts isn’t hard work.

You were telling me that you travel by motor home. How has touring changed for you over time?

The venues just can’t afford to have the big bands. I’m seeing major acts not being able to draw. Being out on the road the expenses have gotten outrageous. Years ago I had the motor home, a road crew with the equipment truck that left a couple hours ahead and did everything; management and publicity. These days, I’m pretty much doing everything myself. I mean, I have a band that I hire but I also do a lot of solo shows because of the economy. Through using live loops and my guitar sense and imagination, I can create a whole band and go out on the road and make - Diamond City

"Music On The Menu GW Anniversary"

MUSIC ON THE MENU: Wesley’s spirited musical journey
by Alan K. Stout
Music Columnist

Sitting down with George Wesley and talking about his life of music is not a bad way to spend some time. It’s engaging, enlightening and enjoyable, and as the local music icon reflects on his 35 years of performing and 25 years of recording, the stories flow easily. He recalls his early bands, early records, both the highs and lows of his career, and his growth and journey as a musician.

On Friday at the River Street Jazz Caf?, Wesley will host a “Super Jam” to help celebrate his 35 years of recording and 25 years of making records. And it should be a special night for the Factoryville native, who comes from a long line of family musicians and whose first group, The Dead Branch Band, debuted in 1974.

“It was actually one of the first Grateful Dead tributes,” recalls Wesley with a smile. “There really wasn’t any such thing at that time, but we were about as close as you can get.

Wesley says that right around the same time, he began to fully discover the sounds of Bob Marley and reggae music. It would change his life forever.

“It was positive rhythms, and he was speaking a Jah,” he says, adding that he found the spiritual aspects of the music equally appealing. “I loved the music, and I wanted to play it. And everybody around me was like ‘You’re a white guy from Pennsylvania. You can’t play reggae.’ And it was actually Jerry Garcia — I went to see [Garcia’s band] Legion of Mary a few times — and he was playing Jimmy Cliff and Bob Marley songs, and I said ‘Wait a minute. If these guys can do it …’

“That validated what I wanted to do.”

Soon, Wesley was incorporating rock, reggae, pop and jam music into his own sound. He gigged with a band called the Small Axe Band, and later, with a project called Second Wind. He says that, for him, good musical vibes have always stemmed from the instrument he holds in his hands and his ability to bring his own touch to any song.

“Most of all, I just love to play the guitar,” he says. “And I love all kinds of music. Even with the Grateful Dead, they covered other people’s songs their way, and my father taught me that. My father would play ‘Johnny Be Good,’ and he’d do his own riffs. He wouldn’t play the Chuck Berry riff. He’d say ‘No, that’s Chuck’s riff. I’d be copying it. I want to interpret it.’ I took that as one of my earliest musical lessons.”

Wesley’s first recording was in 1984. Working with his musical partner, Don Rogers, the two recorded a 45 rpm single, “Coming Back For More,” with the B side “Got A Lot of Love.” In 1987, The Wesley Rogers Band recorded its first full-length album, “Strong” which was released on cassette. In 1990, Wesley, now fronting his own group of musicians, recorded “Forward,” his first album that was released on CD. It was funded through the sponsorship of Red Stripe, a popular Jamaican beer.

“I didn’t even have a CD player to listen to it,” recalls Wesley with a smile.

Wesley has clear memories of each album. He describes “Forward” as being “out of the gate” and the “foundation” of his musical catalog. And he finds some ironic humor that his group disbanded after the tour for 1992’s “Do What You Like” album. “The musicians went their own way,” he says. “Everybody got caught up in doing their own thing.” It was aptly named.

With 1995’s “Celebration of Creation,” Wesley says he learned what he truly inspired him as a musician and songwriter, and just as important, what did not. And he recalls working methodically on 2000’s “Timekeeper” CD, recording it again and again. “Sailing On The Seas of Fate,” his first album after the death of his daughter, Jennifer, helped provide some healing

“That was probably my most therapeutic session,” he says. “I was just happy to have music to hang on to. That is one of the most sacred albums to me, because my son James and I worked on it at a time when we needed to be together. When I recorded it, it was heavy. But that album is one of my favorites.”

With “When I’m Next To You I Feel Lucky” and 2008’s “Hold On,” Wesley began to incorporate looping — which he uses when he performs live — into the recording process. This has given him great creative fulfillment, and with the latter CD, he feels that he’s finally found his ideal sound. Thinking back on the past 35 years, he appreciates the long ride.

“I’ve learned to be patient,” he says. “I’ve learned to accept the things that don’t happen as being blessings, as much as the things that do happen. For a long time, I’d been frustrated that ‘nobody gets it.’ But I guess it’s not really important, as long as I get it. One of the cool things about the Internet is They put shows up, and I have shows up from 1989 to present, and I’ll go on there and check, and there’ll be 17,000 downloads. There are people taking time to listen to my stuff, and care about it.

“I’m fortunate that I can make a living as a musician,” he adds - The Weekender


1. "Coming Back For More/ Gotta Lotta Love" (single)
Wesley Rogers Band, UCA Records 1984

2. "Strong"-Wesley Rogers Band, RAW Records 1987

3. "Forward"-George Wesley and The Irietations
Joy And Harmony JAH-101 1990( re-released 2005 JAH-117)includes:

Work It Out,(Keep Movin')



Rub-A Dub,Baby(Dub),


Love Addict,

Rock-n-Reggae Party,

 Work It Out (Dub)

4. "Do What You Like"

George Wesley and The IrietationsJoy And Harmony JAH-102 1993

5." Celebration Of Creation"-George Wesley and The Irietations

Joy And Harmony JAH-!03 1995 

:You're Gonna Love It,

Thank You,


Come and Get It,

Good Thing,

Three Little Birds,

Danger Zone,

Win Or Lose,

Angel Of Mercy,

Get Off Of My Cloud,

James Jam,

Don't Let Your Good Thing Die 

 You're Gonna Love It(Dub)

6 " Timekeeper"-George Wesley
Joy And Harmony JAH 114 2000


Into The Night,

Dance All Night,

Do What You Like,Summertime

,JAH Is Everywhere,

Affairs Of The Heart,

Music Sweet Music,


 The Wheel.

7." Sailing On The Seas Of Fate"-George Wesley
Joy And Harmony JAH 115 2003

:Oh,What A Feeling,

Same Old Song/Time Of Trouble,

Passion OF Life,On That Day,

Why Have You Been So Kind?,

Riff Raff,

Where We Gonna Go?,

Love And Corruption,

What They Gonna Do?,

Singing Thanks And Praises

,Thank You,

 Sailing On The Seas Of Fate.

8."When I'm Next To You,I Feel Lucky"-George Wesley
Joy And Harmony JAH 116 2005

:When I'm Next To You,I Feel Lucky,

Take It Easy,

Let's Have A Good Time,

I Wanna Be A Cowboy,

Picture Frame Blues,

Dream On

,Earth Crisis,



I Love You,

.I Feel Lucky(Dub) 


9. "Hold On"-George Wesley
Joy and Harmony JAH 118 2008 

 Fading Away,

Ain't No Troubles

,Long Time,

Junkie Man,

This Is The Sound

Hold On To Your Dreams

,Dance To JAH Music,

Fading Away(Dub),

Don't Use Me,

Your Love's Got A Hold On Me 

When I'm Next To You I Feel Lucky (Part II).

10. "Old Lion"-George Wesley

Joy and Harmony JAH 119 2012

Old Lion

I Don't Care ( I Know JAH Loves Me)

Cool Down

This Night


Mystery To Me

Ruff N Rugged



Righteous Love

Drum Safar I

Old Lion (Dub)

Thank You

Songs have been used in compilations and fund-raising projects and have received airplay on several stations.



George Wesley has written and performed his own infectious music for over four decades creating many memorable songs influenced by the blend of rockn roll and Caribbean sounds. Through his countless stops up and down the east coast of the U.S. and in the islands of the Caribbean, people have enjoyed listening and dancing to the original music of George Wesley.

2012 brought the release of his much anticipated ninth recording on Joy And Harmony Records,"Old Lion".

Through the years George has been a headliner at many festivals as well as playing the same stage with a long list of well known artists including The Wailers, Santana, Black Uhuru,Matisyahu,Culture,Mykal Rose,Judy Mowatt,Merl Saunders,Jerry Garcia Band,Tim Reynolds (Dave Matthews) and Jimmy Cliff and many more.

In 2008 George was voted Best Singer-Songwriter and in 2010 "Best Old School Band/Musician"by Diamond City Readers Poll.

2015 George Wesley won Steamtown Music Awards' "Best Reggae/Jam/Funk Band "

The music, itself, captures musicians as well as people just out for a good time because George writes from his musical roots Marley, Dylan, The Dead and other diverse influences. Along with outstanding musicianship and professionalism, he delivers his musical story with warmth and sincerity through clear and effortless singing that only comes to artists with years of honing their skills.

In addition to his original material he does a tribute to Bob Marley in which he covers Marley twisted up and smoked GW style. He also covers artists like Peter Tosh, Jimmy Cliff, Jimi Hendrix,The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton, Bob Dylan,Grateful Dead and many more in his own unique style.

Depending on the occasion, you may see George Wesley with a 3 to 7 piece group as well as his very popular solo performances AKA "George Wesley's Small Axe Orchestra" a live looping reggae/jam project featuring guitarsynth, vocal effects and a foot operated sampler (looper)  which allows him the ability for one man to sound like an orchestra. Currently The George Wesley Band has Chris Condel on drums and vocals and Lion Sandford on bass and vocals and using live loops for a massive live sound.

George Wesley, truly, has music in his veins. As a descendant of composer Charles Wesley (Hark the Herald Angels Sing) to growing up playing in his fathers country band, He learned about music and how to play it at a very young age. By the time George was in his teens he was writing and playing his original music for people in Eastern Pennsylvania and bordering states. Through the 70s and early 80s George played with several regional bands that showcased his original material to colleges, festivals and bars covering the northeast. These venues kept the groups busy and began to point his future efforts toward becoming an international touring and recording artist.

In the early 80s with a move to Central New York,"The Wesley Rogers Band "(Georges first rockin reggae effort) released their first album "Strong" which featured "The Riddim Twins", Sly Dunbar and Robbie Shakespeare then toured with Mykal Rose (all from Grammy Award winning "Black Uhuru").

In 1987 The Wesley Rogers Band called it quits. WRB member David Ikril Walker (drums) and his former "Soul Power and Sound" band mate from Jamaica,Evon "Laza" Lazarus (bass) connected with George forming the musical magic of the IRIETATIONS.

George Wesley and The Irietations gained recognition for their sound and were sponsored by Jamaicas Red Stripe Beer from 1990-92. During that time period they also recorded with Eddy Grant, on his label, World Beat Records, at Blue Wave Studios in Barbados.

George has been recognized and endorsed by Martin Guitar of Nazareth, PA and works on research and development of new products like the ALternative X-MIDI guitar. George is honored to be included on Martins list of famous owners and thanks them for their support and inspiration.

Its a rare combination to hear meaningful music performed with an energy that ignites a crowd to want to embrace that musical experience. George Wesley offers young and old that gift in a new way every time.

Band Members