The Believers (Special photo) Thomas Wynn and the Believers will perform at next week’s Briar Patch Festival in Orlando, Fla. Members include Thomas Wynn, Jordan Wynn, David Wagner, Ryan Miranda, Chris Bell Antemasaris and Colin Daniels.(Special photo)
ALBANY — No one will deny that the Wynn family is one of the first families of Southern and Blues music. Three Wynn siblings — Thomas, Jordan and Olivia — have wowed music lovers with their talents: Thomas and Olivia currently in their band Thomas Wynn and the Believers, while Jordan performs duets with his wife, Heather, and fronts his band The Apparitioners.
With dad Tom Wynn having played drums for Cowboy, one of Macon-based Capricorn Records’ stable of artists during the Southern Rock boom of the ’70s, there’s no question that music is in the Wynns’ blood.
But there’s something special, something otherworldly, in the way Thomas and Olivia sound when they sing harmonies with the Believers, who will be one of the featured band’s at next week’s Briar Patch Festival in Damascus.
“Yeah, there’s definitely a connection, but how could there not be?” Thomas Wynn said of his and Olivia’s goosebump-inducing vocal skills. “We were born three years apart, but we have the same birthday. I believe it’s divine intervention that gives us this connection.
“My wife is a pretty incredible singer herself, and she constantly tells me that what Olivia and I do, no one else does. Every now and then we’ll do acoustic shows together where you can hear every little nuance and there’s this feeling … just talking about it now, I’m getting goosebumps.”
While Wynn’s John Fogerty-meets-Jack White vocals and little sister Olivia’s soaring harmonies are indeed special, their singing is by no means the sum total of the Orlando-based Believers. David Wagner’s bass, Ryan Miranda’s drums, Chris “Bell” Antemasaris’ harmonica and Colin Daniel’s keyboards compliment the Wynns’ vocals and Thomas’ intricate lead guitar work on the Southern/Blues-ish tunes that are the trademark of the band.
The Believers’ style can be traced directly back to the influences of Tom Wynn’s work with Cowboy and Thomas Wynn’s early obsession with The Band.
“Of course our dad’s work influenced all of us,” Wynn said. “Our dad would pull out those vinyl Cowboy albums and put them on the record player. We loved to listen to his music. But we also listened to the Beatles, Paul Simon, The Band.
“There was a period when I was about 13 that I was obsessed with (The Band’s) ‘Music From Big Pink.’ I listened to that incessantly. Musically, that probably changed my life more than anything else. Even though The Band worked tirelessly on their music, when they played it seemed very organic. That’s what I look for in my music.”
Unfortunately, real life — jobs, marriages, paying bills, putting food on the table — keeps the Believers from the “tireless” kind of work that Robbie Robertson and the boys put into their iconic music, but Wynn said that doesn’t keep them from working on their craft individually.
“I’d love for us to be able to work on things more together, but it’s just not possible right now,” the singer/guitarist/songwriter said. “But we’re all just trying to make ends meet. The recession hit us hard, just like it did everybody else. But we practice on our own every day … or I know I’m working every day, constantly trying to make our songs better.
“The songs that we sing are my creations; they come from my bedroom and my car ride and my walk around the block. They’re my experiences, but that doesn’t mean I don’t value everyone else’s contributions to those songs. Each person in the band contributes, turns the words I write into something more than it is originally.”
Wynn and the Believers are “eight-tenths of the way through” with an album of new material that the band’s front man expects to take his group to a place musically that will allow the Believers to pursue their craft the way he’d like.
“Yeah, we have our crappy bus stories — it’s a 30-foot shuttle bus — that we’ve done for a while,” Wynn said. “Certainly we want to get beyond that, to be able to concentrate on the music. But we’re not going to compromise who we are. The way I see it, I’m not going to turn for radio. If radio turns for me, though, God bless you.
“There’s a hunger and a fire within me, and I believe within this band, to do as much as possible with our music. That’s what makes it possible to get through these times when we have to struggle. The struggles, that’s what builds character. But I believe we’re cultivating a history, a reality that’s uniquely ours. The fact that there are others who are touched by what we do, well, that’s one of the main things that keeps us doing this.”
Wynn and the Believers are scheduled to perform at 8:40 p.m. Friday during the three-day Briar Patch Festival. Their merchandise, including albums “The Reason” and “Brothers and Sisters,” is available at thomaswynnandthebelievers.com. Check out their smoking videos for “Turn It Into Gold” and the amazing “Put It Back” on YouTube.