Natchez artist dives into first full album
Published Sunday, August 26, 2007
"She’s so wonderful, she’s my drug and addiction.” At first glance, these eight words conjure thoughts of hopeless love — or maybe some poor soul’s attempt to describe it.
But when singer, songwriter, guitarist Wesley Strebeck penned that chorus, his mind was far from any romantic notion. For Strebeck, “she” is not a female, or even a person. “She” is America ’s culture of full schedules and empty minds.
“I don’t feel like people do enough thinking these days,” Strebeck said. “Our culture is so geared toward go, go, go constantly. Most people spend so much time addicted to schedules, they don’t have time to think about what’s important, what’s true.”
With that message as his theme, the 23-year-old Natchez native began recording his first full-length album in Nashville a few months ago. Strebeck describes his music as singer-songwriter folk, mixed with a few pop elements.
“I’m a product of Generation X,” he said. “It’s impossible to escape my pop roots.”
Strebeck said music has always been a big part of his life. He grew up in a musical family and started singing in his father’s church at a young age. After playing with several bands in high school, Strebeck struck out on his own as a solo act in college.
“I got confirmation about my music from different people,” he said. “We decided to get serious about this a year ago.”
Strebeck often uses “we” when talking about his musical career. His wife of two years, Claire, and 9-month-old son, Knox, are an integral part of Strebeck’s life and his music.
Like thousands of artists before him, Strebeck struggles to balance his full-time job, his family and his music.
“It’s definitely a struggle when you have a baby,” he said. “You have to think completely different.”
Strebeck said he often uses his bathroom as a getaway from the commotion that a 9-month-old brings to any house.
“I do most of my writing in there,” he said. “It’s the only place that’s quiet.”
Sitting on the bathroom’s hardwood floors with guitar, pencil and paper in hand, Strebeck works to put his thoughts to music.
“Usually, a guitar progression comes first,” he said. “Then I just build on top of that.”
The songwriting process itself seems to excite Strebeck more than actually performing his work.
“Over the past year, I’ve really been intrigued by the process,” he said. “I try to focus on the truth you can bring out — the emotions you can evoke. It’s almost like a little road taking me somewhere.” Strebeck and his wife both describe his lyrics as thoughtful and reflective.
Strebeck said one of the biggest influences on his lyrics is his faith
“Faith definitely impacts my music and songwriting,” he said. “If you’re honest, you can’t compartmentalize the two. If I’m really searching the depths of my soul, I don’t think music can be divorced from what I believe to be true.”
He’s quick to point out, however, that he doesn’t intend for his music to be enjoyed just by “church people.”
“Art is such a vehicle to communicate and help people to see deeper truths,” he said. “I want everyone to enjoy my music — from the bar to the church.”
Strebeck is hoping his new album, which is due out later this year, will get his thought-provoking message to the masses.
Before he began recording, Strebeck sought out producer, artist Jeremy Casella of Nashville to lend a hand.
“Casella’s such a wonderful talent,” Strebeck said. “He has sort of become my mentor.”
Strebeck’s mentor describes the young artist’s music as “folk, with a little tinge of country.”
“His lyrics are pretty vulnerable and confessional,” Casella said. “Musically, we’re using lap steel and pedal steel guitars to augment his sound,” he said.
Casella said he thinks Strebeck is a unique find in today’s music industry.
“He’s a great singer, a great writer and a great guitarist,” he said. “It’s a rare combination.”
Samples of Strebeck’s music as well as booking information can be found at www.myspace.com/wesleyheathstrebeck.