by Kelsey Butler
Wes Walters has performed in choirs, operas, and touring rock bands. He’s produced two albums in his career and traveled the country to find his home.
Walters and his wife live in Southside with their two children. He performs two or three times a month, calling music his “third job”.
Walters and his family moved to his wife’s hometown of Southside in 2016 after living in Nashville, TN and Buffalo, NY. “When we got married it was 2002 and we moved up to Nashville for a church position,” Walters explains. ”My wife was the church secretary and I was the church worship leader guy.”
While in Nashville, Walters sang in a rock band before moving to New York. “We moved up to Buffalo, New York with a friend of mine who was moving home to Buffalo to plant a church. Originally I was moving there for music, but he started pouring into me and teaching me to read and write and preach and go back to seminary.”
Walters says he began to develop a burden to move home. “Around March 2016 God made it very clear to me that I was supposed to come back home to plant a church, and so we moved home in September 2016.”
“Thats my first job and that’s my first love is planting churches and preaching,” Walters continues. “And then during the week I do about 30 hours at an insurance agency managing the office and taking payments and stuff, and then on the weekends I’ll do gigs.”
Growing up a “military brat”, Walters says he didn’t know a lot of people when he and his family moved to Southside, and music has opened doors for him to meet people. “I thought, ‘I’ll use what I have to get out and meet folks.’ And probably folks who don’t like the church or have been hurt by the church or left the church or whatever. And maybe I can befriend them and hang out with them and show them something different.”
Walters preaches at Aim Church in the old feed and seed building in Southside. “It’s just a small little group that’s kind of just in the word together,” he describes. “I’ll preach and we’ll do communion and I’ll lead us in some songs… It’s kind of a unique little spot.”
When playing gigs, Walters often broadcasts the show on Facebook live. He says it’s a good way for his wife and extended family to watch him play. “ I just started that so that they could kind of be there with me… We’ll put the kids to bed and then I’ll head out to some stinkin’ late show that starts at 9:30 or 10:00 and [my wife] can sit on the couch and watch.”
Walters plays acoustic guitar and sings both covers and originals. “I’ll bring a kick drum with me sometimes just to add a little bit more sound,” he explains. “And I’ve got an iPod that’s full of these 20 minute synth pads that are in each key and I’ll just play whatever key I’m in and it makes it sound a little bit more full.”
Walters still writes music for church and for himself, but says he gets a lot of requests for covers when playing gigs. “I learned a bunch of stuff to make the people happy,” he says. “What it did for me was it developed a list of one hundred and something covers. It’s just something from every decade basically, every style that I can find to make everybody a little bit happy.”
Music has been a part of Walters’ life since he started singing next to his mom in church at three years old, and he says, “I dont think I’ll ever stop [playing] because sometimes if I go four or five weeks without doing a gig I kind of get that itch, and my wife is like ‘You need to go do a show.’”
You can catch a Wes Walters show at one of his upcoming events. Visit Wes Walters Music on Facebook to follow Wes and learn more about his music. You can send him a direct message to book him for an event, wedding, or gig.