The son of a country-western guitar player, Wesley, 56, has been playing music for decades, traveling and performing across the U.S. and in the Caribbean. A direct descendant of Charles Wesley, an English leader in the Methodist movement of the 18th century, Wesley said it was the similarity between the Methodist teachings and reggae that drew him to the genre.
"That one love message is eternal. And when I first heard reggae, that is what I heard," Wesley said.
Wesley, who counts Bob Marley and Bob Dylan among his influences, said being able to play music has given him a chance to see the similarities between people more than the differences. And he attempts to share that view with his audience.
"I pretty much like anywhere I go. It's the same people. You meet your friends, the same characters," Wesley said. "You realize how small the world is and how similar we all are."
It's easy for people to get caught up in their own egos in the entertainment industry, and performing requires some ego, according to Wesley.
"They want to say, 'Look at me.' I like to say, 'Look at us,'" Wesley said.
Wesley, who performs with bands ranging in size from 3 to 10- piece, will be performing solo as the Small Axe Orchestra. Wesley uses live looping, which allows the artist to record several sections of music, whether different instruments or vocals, and layer them over one another.
"It takes a little longer building up," Wesley said. "But it's more fun taking that risk of making a mistake. You can go places you never knew you could go."
Wesley said some of his best songs have been written that way, comparing it to art.
"My favorite medium is wet-on-wet watercolor. You put the paint on your brush, then put the brush on the wet paper where you want it to go, and it goes off in a completely different direction," Wesley said.
- JAMIE McCUNE, FOR FLIPSIDE
If you go
WHAT: George Wesley as the Small Axe Orchestra
WHEN: 10 p.m. Friday
WHERE: KClinger's Tavern, 304 Poplar St., Hanover
DETAILS: Call 633-9197 or visit www.kclingers.com