Telling Stories Through Music with Willie Wisely
Willie Wisely is a musician whose music is hyper-personal, and by turns quirky and unexpectedly profound. On stage he delivers much more than just song. He plays and moves in a can’t-take-your-eyes-off him style that reminds you why leaving the house for live music is so critical to understanding the pop music art form.
I first heard of Willie Wisely when I discovered James Gunn’s Tromeo and Juliet. Willie was the film score composer. I dove into his music from there, had a few conversations, and even tried to help get him to my hometown with a living room concert. If you don’t know what that is, look it up. Unfortunately, it didn’t work, but I’ve kept in touch with him and followed his career. His albums Parador and She have been staples for me over the years. I’m stoked to bring you Willie Wisely on today’s episode.
The longtime Los Angelino (and now prodigally-returning son to his native Minneapolis/St. Paul), has surprised the LA songwriter scene with a recent career rebirth. He brings with him a decades-long, criminally overlooked catalog of pop recording and songwriting that might leave any Paul McCartney & Wings fan wondering why the hell Wisely isn’t opening at Dodger Stadium for Macca in July. Wisely’s love of music permeates his everyday life, including how he decided to cover a Jackie Lomax tune from an obscure Beatles era story.
“We were convinced we were the only people in the world who knew him [Jackie Lomax]. His obscurity was so deep, that when we played his tracks live at our shows we just said we wrote them.” - Willie Wisely on performing
We All Have Influences
Willie and I dive deep into his musical influences, including the relatively obscure Jackie Lomax, acolyte of the Beatles’ Apple Records. In the late 70's Willie began collecting every LP he could find with an Apple logo on it (no, not the computer company). One of his earliest deep-dives was "Is This What You Want" by Jackie Lomax. Produced by none other than George Harrison.
Despite its commercial failure, the record stuck with Willie and he has been able to pay tribute by releasing a cover of Fall Inside Your Eyes. Willie says he has many influences, and he was glad to be able to share that with Jackie.
“I saw him [Jackie Lomax] at a show in 2005, probably his last tour honestly. I took him aside and told him, ‘You were so influential on me, your songwriting is so profound.’” - Willie Wisely on honoring his influences
Connect with Willie:
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The Storytellers Network with Dan Moyle publishes every Monday at 7 AM EST.