DANIEL WESLEY visits the Bridge Lounge on March 5.
In the winter of 2008, for two nights running, Daniel Wesley mounted the stage before a sold-out crowd at Vancouver’s 1,000-capacity Commodore Ballroom.
The venerable concert hall has seen its share of local artists, but Wesley’s extraordinary two-night stand was something different: a grassroots event without precedent, based on the cyclonic success of an independently produced, windswept reggae-bomb called Ooo Ohh.
“It’s kinda weird talking deep about songs you wrote, because they’re just songs,” says Wesley, who performs March 5 at the Bridge Lounge in Courtenay. “People can and should take them for what they are…”
It’s worth remembering that beneath its face-hugging hookiness, Ooo Ohh was a song about sexual abuse. If pressed further, Wesley will open up about the fear and loathing that informs the remarkable song Pilgrimage, with its take on the gang wars that have turned Wesley’s hometown into a shooting gallery.
“What’s happening today,” he says, “it weighs heavy on some people. The last six or seven months have been pretty scary around here. Pilgrimage is a pretty big statement that I wasn’t trying to make, but the song makes it. And I think it can pertain to anywhere in the world, where those kinds of things are happening.”
On a strictly musical scale, Pilgrimage might be the most darkly expressive three minutes Wesley has yet committed to tape, with a universe of suggestion between its disco vibe, fuzzy riff, and a general increase in pace that eventually drops the listener into an evocative middle-eight unlike anything else in the Wesley songbook.
It’s the perfect bookend to Drunk and Stoned, and gives shape to the overall sense that this third, self-titled album is designed to open new vistas for a talent that’s only just beginning to find itself. Fittingly, and like any natural-born musicmaker, Wesley appears to treat life and work as an indivisible thing, subject to the same rules, and the same core philosophy.
For more information, visit www.danielwesley.com and www.reverbnation.com/valleysounds.
Tickets for the Bridge gig cost $22.50 in advance at Bop City Records, Tarbell’s, the Bridge Lounge and Eco-Centric Naturals at 565 England in Courtenay, or by phone at 250-338-9996.
Doors open at 10 p.m. Valley is a special guest.
— Cumberland Village Works