Thomas Wynn & The Believers

By Poppy Tohill

One month on from the release of their third album, Wade Waist Deep, American rock band Thomas Wynn & The Believers are back on the road, breaking beyond the southern rock scene with complex, pulsing rhythms and breathtaking harmonies. 

“We’ve got a night off tonight so we’re staying out in the woods in Jersey, but we’re back on the road with a show in New York tomorrow night,” Thomas Wynn tells me over the phone as we settle in to chat about the band’s long-awaited return. 

Wade Waist Deep, the band’s label (Mascot Label Group) debut, was released just over one month ago on May 19, since receiving an array of 5 star reviews from the likes of BluesRock, TheMusicAU & 100PercentRock. 

“We’ve been playing new markets, so our audience is building,” Wynn reflects on the release of the record and their current tour. “The record has actually been really well received in Australia and Europe and we’re starting to get some great reactions in America as well, so we’re thrilled.” 

When it came to the decision behind naming the album after the second track on the record, Wynn explained, “Looking through the songs, we felt that visually Wade Waist Deep could be really impactful as a cover and in terms of the meaning of that song and the overall meaning of the record, we felt like that song and title was a good way to represent this sound and for us to be received.” 

“I had written the chorus to that track [Wade Waist Deep] years ago, but had never been able to come up with any verses for it, so when we were in Nashville working on the record last year I showed it to my friend Teddy Morgan and it suddenly just came to us that day. It’s really about that feeling of getting into the water and washing away your past wrongs and washing away the things that hold you down most,” he explained. 

“We had three dozen songs for the new album, before eventually settling on fifteen, recording fourteen and releasing twelve on the record,” Wynn declared. “The twelve songs selected all kind of ended up having this introspective feeling to them so they found themselves together in a very organic way,” he explained. “We obviously had some input from the label and management, but as a team, we all agreed that the songs fit well together and have a congruent message of looking at the deeper meanings of life and weeding through them to try find some clarity.” 

Describing the album’s theme as being about ‘building a better life, a life you really believe in,’ Wynn opened about why he believes there’s no quick fix to having a better life. 

“I think that’s an ideal and it’s definitely something that we’re all as individuals in the band trying to do - but I think that it’s a life long journey. You may have flashes of enlightenment and flashes of realisations throughout your life, but it’s really a life long task to find the meaning in why we’re doing things. It’s not necessarily just a bang and then you know, although it may be for some people, I personally find it an ongoing process.” 

With five years between albums, we went on to discuss how the band has evolved since the release of their second studio album Brothers & Sisters back in 2012. “In that interim of about five years between albums we’ve kind of come into a band of our own and now we’re ready to put our feet down,” Wynn admit. “While Wade Waist Deep is our third release as a band, this is our first release with these members, so this record is the foundation of what we’re building from here on out.” 

On the topic of Brothers & Sisters, Wynn revealed what it’s like being in a band with his sister, Olivia Wynn [vocalist & tambourine player]. “Anyone who has siblings knows that it can be difficult at times, but it can also be the best of times,” he added with a chuckle. “She [Olivia] can understand me more than anyone else in the group and hopefully vice versa and I think the thing that keeps us going and together as a band is that we all genuinely care for each other and want the best for one another, so if there’s any squabbles, and sometimes there certainly are, they’re hopefully quickly forgiven.”

There’s no doubt that Wynn is still the (nice) bloke in charge though, admitting that he’s “often the one to bring the lyrical, melody and overall structure of a song to the band, but the shape, polish and finishing touches are certainly all done collectively as a group.” 

Recorded in Nashville with producer Vance Powell who has worked alongside greats including Jack White, Chris Stapleton and Kings Of Leon, just to name a few, at Sputnik Sound, Wynn reflects on the difficulties overcome throughout the recording process and the impact the country music capital of the world had on The Believers sound. 

“We got to go to Nashville for a month in August last year and it was an absolutely wonderful experience,” Wynn excitedly recalls. “We would shut ourselves in the studio all day long creating this piece of work and it was truly wonderful to see how Vance works. One of the things he told me before we started recording was that he wanted to help make this an album that was the best version of us and that meant he didn’t want anything fake. So what you hear is exactly what we had to play and accomplish in the studio.” 

“As far as I know there’s more music being made in Nashville than any other city in the world, but we didn’t actually really get to experience the city too much because we’d be in the studio all day, go home exhausted, then be back in the studio the next day. But I’m very thankful we were all together focusing on this one thing - that was the most influential aspect of our time there,” he added. 

“We did a lot of the record together, where the drums, guitar and organ track would be recorded together in a room and we would just play the song until the feel was right and then overdub anything else later on, which was a very different experience for us, as in the past we’d track each instrument individually. So we all enjoyed the experience of doing it this way and I think that truly helped shape the album that you hear,” he concluded.