Thomas Wynn & The Believers
These Florida roots-rockers are on a righteous path from addiction to redemption.
All of us are sinners. But it’s never too late to be saved. It’s a philosophy that has helped Thomas Wynn back from the brink – and provides the concept behind The Believers’ third album, Wade Waist Deep. “I believe that people can change,” Wynn tells us. “Sometimes it just takes us being pushed up against a wall. I know that I’ve changed in lots of ways. When I look at my past and the things that may have hurt someone yesterday… I don’t want to do that again.”
Now in his thirties, Wynn has shed a few skins over the years. There was the church-going kid from Orlando, Florida, who learnt his musical craft under the nose of his father (a sometime drummer for 70s country-rockers Cowboy). The brother who spent years tightening the “blood harmonies” with younger sister Olivia that now define The Believers’ rootsy southerncountry sound. The addict whose pain spilled out in the band’s confessional early material. “How bad did things get?” he reflects. “The dissolving of a marriage. But it happened. And you can either let that change you for the better, or I could be wallowing for the rest of my life.”
Happily, there’s also Wynn’s current incarnation: a loving husband, father-of-one and bandleader whose third album, released last year, is tipped as The Believers’ breakthrough. Musically, his songs are often uplifting, from the title track’s rootsy shuffle to the garage-gospel of I Don’t Regret. Yet death is never far from the lyricsheet, whether on the brittle hard rock of We Could All Die Screaming or the hushed soul of My Eyes Won’t Be Open, where Wynn considers how his son might remember him after he’s gone. “In Norse mythology, people would find corpses,” he explains, “and if the corpse had their eyes open, it meant they regretted decisions in their life. At the time I wrote that, I was thinking: ‘How do I do right by my son, so when I die, my eyes won’t be open?’”
Given the recurring theme of death, should we be worried about Wynn?
“No,” he shrugs. “I mean, you could worry about me as much as you worry about anyone else. We’re all gonna die.”
For now, Wynn is more concerned about uplifting the lives of those who hear his band. “I feel like we’ve lost some cultural depth,” he considers. “I don’t even know when we lost it or if we ever had it, but it seems to me like selfishness is the ruler of the day. I’d like us to be loving. I’d like to move and grow in love – for all people.”
Isn’t that a bit spiritual for us Brits?
“One reviewer called me a fat Jesus, he says, laughing. “I thought that was kinda funny. Wasn’t I offended? No. If I’m fat, it’s because I’m doing it to myself. And if they think I’m like Jesus, then who better to be like?” HY
“One reviewer called me a fat Jesus. I thought
that was funny.”
Wade Waist Deep is out now via Mascot/Provogue. The band tour the U K until July 4 (including Ramblin Man Fair June 30).