Wes Alexander
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Wes Alexander

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If you don't look too carefully, Wes Alexander might seem like just another Canadian bluesman. He plays slide on a beat-up resonator guitar, sings about drinking sprees and back-door love affairs, and even made a Mississippi Delta pilgrimage back in 1984, all of which are mandatory for blues performers brought up in a land where there's more likely to be a Tim Horton's at the crossroads rather than some shadowy, demonic figure.

Alexander's not a bone-weary sharecropper or itinerant minstrel: he has been happily married to the same woman for over half of his life. He started performing in earnest once his son had made it safely out of grade school. Alexander took up slide after cutting the pinky finger on his fretting hand and he learned about the blues from early-morning radio shows and late-night jam sessions.

His "Devil left me with nothing" CD truly reflects the blues: deep, dark songs about wicked
temptations and real-life situations, delivered in a believably raspy voice and backed up by deliciously syncopated guitars.

Still, things are never quite what they seem for this highly individualistic entertainer. Take the aforementioned blues pilgrimage, for instance. Like many northern blues fans, Alexander headed south of the Mason-Dixon line hoping to find a world of juke joints and barbecue, gritty singers and authentic soul. Instead, he found that rap had taken over, and that real blues performers were increasingly confined to the festival circuit. While in the Mississippi he visited McDowell's grave, Robert Johnson’s grave, and Charlie Patton's.

One afternoon Delta great Johnny Billington set him on the path that got him where he is today. "I went down to the Delta Blues Museum and took a couple of guitar courses and ran into Johnny," he recalls. "And he said 'Oh, you can play guitar; you've just got to sing like you mean it.' That was the pivotal point for everything. From that point in time, it was just a matter of 'sing like you mean it, and singing songs that you really want to mean.' "

There's not a song on "Devil left me with nothing" that Wes doesn't want to mean. The hard-charging opener, "It's Gonna Rain", for instance, is not just a funky allusion to the Biblical story of Noah: it also gives Alexander a way to grab the attention of even the rowdiest roadhouse crowd.

And when Alexander sings cheating songs such as "Deception and Lies" or "You Make Me Feel Uneasy", he's not so much celebrating illicit pleasures as calculating their cost. "If you're going to write songs, write songs about situations you can envision yourself in," he says. "I have not been
in those situations, but I basically said 'If I was to lie, if I was to cheat, if I was to do this type of stuff, what would the impact be?'" In fact, a strong moral undercurrent animates songs like these, one more way in which Alexander is carrying on the work of blues prophets such as Son
House or Huddie "Leadbelly" Ledbetter.

"There are moments when I'm playing that I realize that, yes, I'm putting something out there, and that this is what is meant for me," he explains. "I believe in a very spiritual way, that this is my calling: to put this music out there for people and have them seriously think about it. Someone
has to be out there telling people that these things do exist, and I guess if I can change a part of someone's world, that's my goal.

Not an unreasonable goal. With his gritty singing, assertive guitar, and fascinating one-string diddley-bow, Alexander is a convincing advocate for the honourable life and for the ongoing relevance of the music he's made his own.
- Self


Hey Wes, I sure did get that CD. WOW. I was seriously, truly impressed. You took a long time but when you finally did it you did it right. Some nice songwriting, some great blues and good arrangements and instrumentation. I wish I could play it for you. I enjoyed listening to the whole thing which is something I don’t always get. A bit mellow at times but seemingly from the heart. It can be proudly shared with blues fans everywhere. Congratulations.

Cheers

And thanks for sharing. Keep me posted let me know if there is anything I can do.

Keep on lovin the blues buddy!
- Stormin Norman


Discography

First CD "Devil left me with nothng"

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Bio

Blyes with loopers and delays.