Musical Literature On Stage in Oysterville

Sep 16, 2013 | 1 comment

Wes Weddell

Wes Weddell, Oysterville House Concert 2013

Singer/songwriter Wes Weddell never ceases to amaze.  Five years ago he regaled our Oysterville House Concert audience with his songs based on traveling the blue roads in Washington State.  In his concert yesterday, his second set was based on books he had read as a participant in the Bushwick Book Club Seattle. And, it came as no surprise that, although he devotes his life and livelihood to music, he was a history major at the U Dub.

First, a little bit about that first house concert.  When he was still at the University (“I was 19) he was the the recipient of a Mary Gates Grant which allowed him, under the auspices of both the history and geography departments, to travel throughout Washington gathering information and inspiration for a group of songs.  He divided the state into nine (somewhat arbitrary regions) and for ten weeks took to the road, stopping in diners and delis and other small-town venues to talk to folks.  From that endeavor came nine songs all of which are on his first (of four) CD, “My Northwest Home.”

Bushwick CD

On this album: “Bagpipe” by Wes Weddell

Since his last concert here, he has been involved with the Bushwick Book Club Seattle which, as its website states, is not your run-of-the-mill book club.  Unlike most other book clubs, they meet in a concert venue and perform their “book reports” before an audience.

Again, to quote from their “about” webpage:  We are a group of musicians dedicated to sharing our combined passion for both music and reading with the Seattle community and beyond. With each performance, a book is chosen which is read by our talented Bushwick artists who then write original music inspired by the book they just read. The audience is encouraged to read the featured book and participate in the events as well. By producing these unique, one of a kind musical literary events we hope to increase awareness in literature and song writing, while at the same time remind people (young and old) that reading can and should be a regular part of their daily lives.

Yesterday Wes passed around a list of fifteen books Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein, Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury, and the Bible.  Our instructions were to indicate our three preferences with a tally mark and he would sing the songs based upon the top eight or nine picks “plus a few others.”

House Concert Audience, Sept. 2013

House Concert Audience, Sept. 2013

The songs were not book reports at all, of course.  They were Wes’s own impressions and imaginative associations inspired by his reading of the selection of the month.  I heard more than one audience member say, “I’ll have to read that book again!”  And I think we were all inspired to read a new-to-us selection or two as well.

Among my favorites were “The Bagpipe” inspired by Where the Sidewalk Ends, “The Movie That Plays In My Head” inspired by High Fidelity and “To Have and to Hold” inspired by The Time Travelers Wife. All of these and more are available on “The Bushwick Book Club Demos, Vol. 1 (2011) – digital version only.

I hope it isn’t another five years before we can connect with Wes again here in Oysterville.  However long it is, though, I look forward to learning about another amazing chapter in his musical journey!

1 Comment

  1. Stephanie Frieze

    Last night, as always, was a delight. I can’t wait for Dave to receive thr DVD I bought for him. He can play it on his trip back to Washington!


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