STEAM So tell me is the story true that you were a commodities broker for British Petroleum and you quit to be a country star?
JW This story kind of got a little out there. Basically, I graduated college in 2001 and was hired by British Petroleum and put on their fast track for brokers. I moved to Chicago and started working my way up. All the while my mind was on country music, so after about two-years I left BP and moved to Austin and started really pushing my music career. I’ve been doing this for about ten-years and I’m very happy with it.
STEAM Listening to your songs we can really hear your country influences (George Strait, Garth Brooks, Merle Haggard, Alan Jackson), but do you have influences from other genres?
JW Well, I listen to rock a little and some pop, but my heart is and always has been in country music.
STEAM When did you sign with Warner Music Nashville? And what changes were made to your 2010 album “It All Happened in a Honky Tonk” to make it a deluxe edition?
JW I signed to them in August 2012 and we’ve been working real close ever since. WMN released “It All Happened in a Honky Tonk” as a deluxe edition the first of this year with addition of 3 songs… I’ll take My Chances, Can’t Take My Eyes Off of You, and That’s Not Very Texas of You.
STEAM I see that you do a lot of touring in Texas and in the southern Mid-West. Are you planning to expand to the East or West Coasts soon?
JW Of course we really want to spread out to the other areas and the coasts. I’m working with WMN towards our national release and a tour to support it. Right now we really enjoy performing for our fans and touring throughout Texas and the southern Mid-West.
One thing I really want to make sure people know is that we love coming to Corpus Christi. It is such a great city and the fans there are really behind my music. And I’m not just saying this. Corpus Christi and South Texas have just really become a big part of my career and my fan base. I would like to see everybody come out to the show, say hello, and have a good time!
STEAM I also saw in your schedule that you will be in France in August! Where are you playing and have you played in Europe before?
JW Yeah, this is our first time to play in Europe and we’ re really looking forward to it. Our first gig is in Switzerland at a private party, which we love doing. And then we head to St. Agreve France for the Equiblues Festival. This is a rodeo and Festival that we will be headlining. It’ s a small event for the area but we expect 4, 000 to 5,000 people.
STEAM Your videos are now on GAC and CMT and are great productions. How did you like the acting side of your music?
JW We’ve done four videos now. “That Girl in Texas” was the first; second was “I Don’t Dance”; third was”It All Happened in a Honky Tonk”; and the fourth was “The Only Time You Call”. You know I used to be really bad about the whole camera thing and if it hadn’t been for my manager, I wouldn’t get in front of the camera at all. I give him a lot of credit because he was always videoing us while we were on the road, so our YouTube channel has just grown. So when it came to shooting music videos I just kind of fell into the acting and I wasn’t too uncomfortable in front of those cameras. I feel that I’m getting better at acting and I really do enjoy it.
STEAM You were recently at T. Floore Country Store in Helotes TX and recorded your show. How did you choose that location and is this a new album we should be looking for?
JW Floore’s is a legendary venue in the San Antonio area and it was an honor to start playing there. It holds a lot of history: it’s where Willie Nelson used to hold his festivals, Robert Earle Keen plays there, and Waylon Jennings used to play there on Sundays. Over the past couple of years we have developed this good relationship with Floore’s , so with those reasons we felt it was just the perfect venue to do this recording. It’s really just one of those places that when you get the chance to do it, you do.
We have really wanted to record a live version of “It All Happened in a Honky Tonk” for the last two and half years because you have this studio record called “It All Happened in a Honky Tonk” and it kind of missed something. We felt we really needed a version that included that live, honky-tonk crowd feeling. And that’s what we got at Floore’s.
STEAM On May 19th you held your 2nd annual fundraiser for HHH (Healthcare for the Homeless Houston). This is such a great organization and cause. First, how did you get involved with them? And how much did you raise this year?
JW Essentially a lot of the folks that I have looked up to and trusted over the years are involved with Healthcare for the Homeless Houston and that’s how I got interested in it. When the HHH people explained what they were doing I thought it was a really great charity and cause. A lot of people that are homeless need to address their physical and mental issues before they can get jobs or even find a place to live and often our society doesn’t think from that standpoint. So the goal of HHH is to get people the help they need so that they can get off the streets. Often just giving a person the knowledge that you are there can give them the hope and the motivation to move forward and to think of tomorrow in a new perspective
Last year was our first fundraiser and we raised $10,000 at Blanco’s Bar & Grill. This year’s goal was to bring in $20,000 so we held it at the Firehouse Saloon, which is a larger venue, and although we don’t have the official numbers yet, the director of HHH has told me that we easily doubled last year’s amount! I just believe in taking one step at a time and this year’s goal was $20,000. I would love to see us still having annual fundraisers and in three years bring in $100,000. We were very excited at how the event turned out and really believe in this cause.
STEAM And finally, can you tell me who is in your band (and what do they play)?
JW You know like a lot of country singers you end up going through a lot of people after the eight or nine years. I’ve gone through quite a few but in the last 2 ½, three years I’ve been lucky enough to have these great players with me. They are: Patrick Longmire on bass guitar, Will Mack on lead guitar, and Mike Ferrara on drums. We’ re pretty small unit but when we have bigger shows we bring in piece players, like steel guitar and keyboards.