I’ve been playing music for the majority of my life, which is a crazy sentence to type. I picked up the guitar when I was 10, quit my day job and went full time at 19, and now I’m 26. I’ve been through several different transitions as a musician, starting out in church and bluegrass bands as a kid, and getting into electric blues and rock as a teenager. There are few things in life more terrifying, exciting, and liberating than starting over as a musician, and that’s where I find myself again.
When I met the woman who would become my fiancee, I knew that she was talented. You don’t spend your entire life singing and get a degree in vocal music education without having chops. But it took me a few months to realize just how our abilities could merge together to create something entirely different. Once we starting working on some tunes together, it became clear to me that we owed it to ourselves to explore this new direction. We started performing together about a year ago, and after a few months of building up to it, Molly quit her day job in November.
Up until that point, I’d been relying on a network of contacts I’d built up over seven years as a solo blues guitarist. I’m SO grateful for all of the people who have supported me in that field, from the International Blues Challenge to the Telluride Blues Fest to Europe and beyond. But even before I met Molly, I’d known that a change was coming. I started diving deep into the music of singer/songwriters like John Prine, Jason Isbell, Ryan Adams, and Jon Foreman. In addition, I found myself craving the music that I’d started out playing, the old gospel hymns of my childhood and the propulsive rhythm of bluegrass. When I found out that Molly shared a deep love for the same kind of music, I realized that an opportunity was right in front of us.
We took the first year to feel things out; to make a “soft” transition. I’m really glad we did, because there is nothing like experience when it comes to music. Playing shows, travelling, writing, and having great and awful nights are the only way to make progress. Gradually, we started to find our sound, to transition away from what I was doing as a solo artist and really become a duo. It isn’t ONE style of music, it’s our own blended up version of a bunch of them. Bluegrass, delta blues, gospel, folk, alt rock, country, foot stomping, storytelling, and singing. Call it roots music, Americana, or whatever you like.
It’s been challenging, but I really like the sound that Molly and I have found together. But now, we’ve reached the scary part, the jumping off point. We are truly starting over. I feel like that 19 year old kid again, turning in my two week notice and looking at a map of the world, not knowing where my journey would take me.
If you’d like to join us and be a part of this crazy ride, we welcome you with open arms, and we ask you to bear with us as we figure it out. Thank you to everyone who has supported me as a solo artist all these years and has already shown so much love and support to us.
-Brian of The Wallens
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