Wesley Randolph Eader
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Wesley Randolph Eader

Portland, OR | Established. Jan 01, 2012

Portland, OR
Established on Jan, 2012
Band Folk Americana


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos


The best kept secret in music


"The 22 best new albums from Portland's acoustic scene"

"Eader, a traditionalist with a taste for Willie Nelson and early Bob Dylan, handles both ballads and barn-stormers with charm." - The Oregonian


“I’ve always been obsessed with the past. I’m riddled with nostalgia or I’m a tradition-bearer, some may say. Sometimes, when I am stuck in my own head or looking for inspiration, I’ll walk to a junk store and rummage through stacks of 35mm slides. The act of dusting off the next slide and holding it up to the light to reveal the image is very therapeutic -- it’s kind of like reading poetry.

Recently, I discovered the Internet Archives, a vast digital library of public domain film. I really wanted to edit some footage together to make a video for one of my songs. Most of the clips range from the 1920s-50s and reflect that sort of old-time fascination with technology that saturated the period. Whether it was the golden age of the automobile, the development of jet engines, or the Cold War space race, the hope of taking humanity higher, faster, farther was heavy on America’s heart and there are thousands of clips of steamboats, locomotives, roller-coasters, airplanes, automobiles, and rocket ships on the archives to prove it. It’s so fascinating that humanity has put so much blood, sweat, and tears into developing ways to more efficiently move on to the next place!

All these images and symbols of movement seemed to fit perfectly with my song 'Carry on Down the Road.' It’s a rambling song, a string of short stories about the perseverance of the human spirit. It’s about the kind of hopefulness that requires a personal relocation or redirection in order to be found." -- Wesley Randolph Eader - Bluegrass Situation

"The Wandering Boy: Wesley Randolph Eader's "Of Old it Was Recorded""

The Wandering Boy: Wesley Randolph Eader's "Of Old it Was Recorded"

By Josh Compton

Last night, under a sky full of stars, I drove the gravel back roads that lead to my grandparents’ house. I followed a barbed wire fence that vanished and reappeared in the dark fields along the road. A rusted oil well stood silent on the other side of the fence, and beyond it were trees and hills that I had explored tirelessly through youthful summers. The fence gave way to houses and garages and allotments of land that had been parceled out a few years back, breaking up a good chunk of the forest of my childhood.

It’s like that in a lot of places these days. Economies ebb and flow. Demands and resources change. Fertile towns go dry and family farms go under.

I’ve had fits of nostalgia driving those roads before, but not last night. I was listening to Wesley Randolph Eader’s album, Of Old It Was Recorded, and perhaps it gave me a sense of the eternal, and a hope that some things never pass away. Void of any sort of contemporary sheen, Eader’s songs of blood and redemption, set against gentle Appalachian melodies, are something out of time. Like the old trees that still stand among the model homes and driveways, the album is unabashedly “old-sounding” amidst a brave new world.

Eader, reflective and unassuming, has always felt like an old soul tossed into the wrong generation. Growing up the son of a pastor in a small Washington town, he fled to Portland, Oregon in his early 20s in hopes of finding some anonymity. There, in that oasis of diversity, conformity out of the question, his identity began to take shape. He found solace in the old timey music he had brushed against in trips to Tennessee. And he found a renewing of his spirit in the worshipping assemblies he met there.

It was ministry that took the Eader family to the West Coast in the first place; first to Oregon, where Wesley was born, and then to the shipping town of Kalama, Washington. Though Wesley felt the strain of expectations that most ministerial families face, he also saw the deepness of his family’s professed faith as well. He says, “I think the most memorable moments from my youth, those that impact me still today, are was when I would witness the change that occurs when people encounter the gospel for the first time”. His father would sometimes feed and open their home to the lonely Chinese shipmen, far away from home and language, who would make port in Kalama. The Eader family would tour the ships and get to know the freight workers. Wesley would witness the grit and beauty of his father’s hospitality. “I think seeing the gospel have a positive impact in peoples lives is what allows me to continue to believe in its power”.

Eader carried those ideas with him to Portland, where he began to carve out his own path of faith, experiencing God in new and unusual ways. In a small, packed room, stacks of Bibles and hymnals piled about, Wesley and his friends would pray and sing for hours; rejoicing together, struggling together, and grappling with the great Unknown together. He says, “It really felt like we were in the middle of a genuine revival”.

It was in this time of intense worship, that Eader began to take seriously the idea of gospel music. He reflects, “I had kinda told myself that all the best gospel songs/hymns had already been written…that nobody could say anything better than the great hymnists like Watts, Cowper or Crosby and no one could perform them better than guys like Johnny Cash or the Stanely Brothers”. The modern Christian music scene, much of it a repackaging of faith with radio hooks, didn’t sit well with Eader. Taking faith--that eternal idea that outweighs and outreaches everything that we know--and trying to box it up…there’s oftentimes very little honesty in something like that, and it gave him a bad taste in his mouth for gospel music.

But the more he thought about it, the more he started to wonder: Isn’t gospel music the forefather of our American music traditions? Our country and blues and folk music…weren’t they born out of the gospel tradition? When did gospel start following trends as opposed to setting them? When did it get turned around?

In that small, packed room of worship, Wesley witnessed the power that a well-written hymn can have when the poetry and theology is taken seriously again. Sometimes those old hymns get a little too embedded in our lives. Sometimes they get a little too familiar, like children’s songs. But strip those melodies down to a single guitar, strumming a few chords; put a weathered weight-of-the-world voice behind the words…and you can feel that fire again. You can’t help but sing along.

Eader's songs are definitely imbedded in those classic traditions of gospel songwriting. He doesn’t shy away from the bloody imagery, or paper over those grand themes of resurrection and atonement. But he also writes through the lens of his own Christ-experiences; and emphasizes, first and foremost, the love of Christ.

Oh perfect love come near to me
From hatred let me part
So I can bless my enemies
With glimpses of Thy heart

The recording process was pretty modest. Recorded by Blitzen Trapper’s Eric Early, they set up a microphone in Earley’s living room. Wesley whittled his catalogue down to 10 songs, and for the next two hours, using just his voice and a guitar, they ran through them all. Afterward, Early and a few musicians added strings and other subtle instruments to fill out some of the songs.

But despite those little touches, there’s very little polish to be found on the record. Though probably not the case, the album sounds like it was recorded the old fashioned way, long before tape and digital allowed for second chances and manipulated files. There’s a lived-in feeling to it, and a delicate echo that permeates. Eader sings each song as if he’s been singing them forever…as if they were passed down like precious heirlooms, or discovered on one of A.P. Carter’s song expeditions.

And that valley may be dark
Over all the earth, extended
But the love of God is brighter
And its path cannot be bended…

Eader explains that, “We live in an age marked by anxiety and uncertainty, often burdened the past and fearful of the future…Many of us fail to find value in the present moment because we fear it will be forgotten forever, but the gospel teaches us the opposite: that the present moment is holy because it is marked by eternity”. There’s a hope there for someone like Eader, whose heart lay in centuries long past. And there’s a hope there for the rest of us nomads as well, whose attachments get swept away in the currents of progress.

I think it was that, or something close to it, that gave me a sense of comfort on my back road drive. I still walk those woods sometimes. I still climb those hills and cross those streams, moving among the tall grass and broken branches. But 1988 is gone, and so is 1938. You have to hold onto the things that last a little longer…songs and traditions and the redeeming blood of Christ.

Of Old It Was Recorded can be found at Amazon, Bandcamp, and most online retailers.



Eader, Wesley Randolph. Email interview. July, 2013. - No Depression

"Wesley Randolph Eader - Highway Winds"

Highway Winds – the sophomore release from 29-year-old Portland based singer/songwriter Wesley Randolph Eader – is an excellent set of traditional country, folk and bluegrass inspired music. The album’s main theme is being on the road and travelling, with songs about pick-up trucks, bus travel, sailors, a minister, ex-cons and even an astronaut. Eader enlisted the help of Eric Earley (Blitzen Trapper) who helped add bluegrass and country touches to the set. Standout tracks include: the bluegrass thumper “Carry On Down the Road”; “Talkin’ Walmart Texas Blues” – a nod to Dylan’s “Talkin’ World War III Blues”; the gorgeous ballad “Eliza (The Saint of Flower Mountain)”; and the riverboat inspired “Big Steam Wheel.” Highway Roads is a very pleasing album – perfect for a summer road trip! – Written by JFelton - The Record Department

"Highway Winds” by Wesley Randolph Eader [a review]"

When I was younger, I believed in a mystical highway that stretched through the deserts and mountains and byways of America. It beckoned the wandering hearts of lost prodigals. Its asphalt would hum beneath your feet as you pressed down on a gas pedal. But as I got older, and I had been down a road or two, that highway began to lose its magic. I stopped believing in mystery and the power of the open road. I see visions of that lost highway again when I listen to Wesley Randolph Eader’s new record, Highway Winds. I see Woody Guthrie riding a boxcar. I hear Townes Van Zandt singing stories in an old saloon. I see mountain ranges in the far distance, and desert stretched out all around. I find saints and sinners, and I see redemption somewhere on the distant rise. I hear and see and feel it all again. I am swept up in the mystery of the road. This is the wonder of Highway Winds. - Let Us Make A Record


Still working on that hot first release.



The Portland old-time inspired folk/country singer/songwriter Wesley Randolph Eader has family roots all over Tennessee, but he was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. Primarily a solo artist and storyteller, a true songwriters-songwriter, Eader's live performances are known to invoke both laughter and tears amongst the audiences who have had the opportunity to hear him play over the past few years. He released his debut album “Of Old It Was Recorded” on Deeper Well Records in 2012. This album proved that Eader had the voice and musical skill to fit within traditional American folk music, but more importantly it showed that he had the even rarer gift of crafting songs that sounded timeless, not just recycled. In true field recording style, Eader was discovered and approached by Eric Earley (Singer/Songwriter/Producer of Blitzen Trapper & Denver) and a couple weeks later they had a tracking session in Earley’s apartment. Those 10 debut songs could have easily been sung and recorded by country/bluegrass gospel legends such as Ralph Stanley, Johnny Cash, Washington Phillips, or The Louvin Brothers. Its not an uncommon story to hear the grandparents of young listeners mistaking Eader’s music as old songs from their past, saying something like “Hey! We used to sing that song when we were your age”. 

The four year period between “Of Old It Was Recorded” and Eader’s new album “Highway Winds" were filled with ups and downs and everything in between. Only days after releasing “Of Old It Was Recorded”, Eader experienced the first of two spontaneous collapsed lungs, and a few grueling months of recovery that ultimately required emergency surgery. The near death experience and the mystery of whether or not the collapsed lungs were linked to years of playing trumpet as a kid, or too many nights of intense singing, caused Eader to contemplate the fragility of life and question the purpose of the musical gifts he had been given. Despite the trials, he continued to maintain a presence around the Portland music scene, sharing stages and living rooms with all sorts of musicians; the highlights being a sold out show at the Aladdin Theatre in support of Josh Garrels, touring with Liz Vice on the Mcmenamin's Great Northwest Tour, and playing old-time standards and new tunes with Eric Earley at Al’s Den. 

"Highway Winds” represents a new arrival and a second wind for Eader. The songs give a glimpse into his wide range of classic songwriting influences, from the country ballads of Willie Nelson and Tom T. Hall, to the topical folksongs of Woody Guthrie and John Prine. It was recorded entirely on tape and mastered straight to vinyl and features a host of Portland musicians including Eric Earley, Luke Price (National Old-time Fiddle Champion and member of Dean!), Danny O'Hanlon (Studio Engineer and Producer at Bungalow 9 Studios), Rachel Dial (Singer/Guitarist for Mero and SS Bungalow) and more. All these people have helped take Eader's songs, which stand strongly by themselves, to an even higher level of interest to the listener. Nostalgic ridden Americana music lovers are sure to find "Highway Winds" a more than suitable soundtrack for the road.

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