Sweet Sweet Music talked to Jeff Shelton about The Well Wisher’s new album Comes and Goes.
On Bandcamp: The Well Wishers’ 8th full-length release “Comes And Goes” brims with more vim, vigor and full-throttled production than any previous album to date …. And with SONGS to boot! In the process of piecing together “Comes And Goes”, Well Wishers frontman and brainchild Jeff Shelton never strayed far from crafting every song as a potential single – with memorable hooks and catchy choruses at every turn. There’s a little bit of everything for the discerning pop palette…from the full-tilt rock bravado of “It’s On” and “Somebody Lied” to the jangly, mid-tempo glory of “Comes Around”, to the strummy, more laid-bock grooves of “Nobody’s Dancing Alone” or “In Love With”.
What was the biggest fun during the making of the last album?
Since I’m basically a “one man band”…the most fun is always hearing guest
contributions when I ask/beg them to play on my records. This go round…I had a former bandmate (Charlie Winmill) rip a killer guitar solo for the track “It’ On” and pop chanteuse Lisa Mychols (Nushu, The Masticators) sing vocals on the track “Comes Around”.
It’s like a Christmas present…..opening a track that someone has graciously provided for a song and listening to it for the first time!
If we want to know you, which song do we have to listen to? And why?
Wow…that’s a deep question. A lot of the songs on this album are not necessarily
“personal”…but touch on life experiences and relationships…sometimes in the third person. A lot of the album touches on basic human frailties and succumbing to forces
we often have little control over. Listen to “Get On By” and “Ill Equipped” and you’ll get a sense that I’m exposing personal weaknesses….while letting life run its course at the same time.
The music industry has changed a lot (or so they say). What did it bring you? And what not?
The music “industry” never brought me anything. I didn’t scramble for or earn on my own. I’ve never been signed or beholden to a label (except once with a previous band Spinning Jennies many, many years ago … and it was a total nightmare). The freedom and independence bands and artists have now… as well as the tools to market, distribute and create so easily is beyond liberating. I only see it getting better!
The quality of your songs is almost taking for granted. Does this bother you?
Wow…Thank you. I’ll take that as a complement! I think after making several records over the course of 10+ years, a certain level of “quality control” is expected and maintained. I always try to raise the bar on myself…as far as arrangements, productions and song craft…but going back to the first Well Wishers record (from 2004) and enjoying those songs is something I can still feel proud of.
Compared to “A Shattering Sky” “Comes and Goes” sounds more like a rock record. Do you agree?
Definitely. I went a for a bigger and more full drum sound…which gives most of the songs (even the poppy ones) a bigger, more in-your-face kind of sound. I like the intimacy of clean drums just fine…but I just wanted to try a more full-bodied approach this go around. The song “Three Nights in Bristol” was inspired after watching a documentary of the Sex Pistols and British punk…so I guess you can say more “rock” was definitely coming out of the gates this time!
She tells you she will decide on a 5-song-mix tape if there is going to be a second date.
Which 5 would you put on?
If it was strictly a musical soulmate, I’d pick…
“Watch The Sunrise” by Big Star
“Everyone Moves Away” The Posies
“Knowing Me Knowing You” by ABBA
“Tears” by The Chameleons UK
“Him or Me” Paul Revere & The Raiders
If I were still dating my (now) wife…I’d have to pick 3 songs from The Sundays and probably 2 form the Indigo Girls
What’s up for the next couple of months?
In August, I’ll be doing a one-off live Well Wishers show (full band) as part of the International Pop Overthrow festival here in San Francisco. I also have some songs worked up for possible inclusion in a major studio film that is being shot this Fall in Los Angeles. I’m really excited and hopeful about that. Beyond that…I have a nagging desire to do an album that is not so blatantly guitar pop or power pop …..although I think I’ll have hard time straying from that tried and true formula, no matter how much I try.