Kentucky-by-way-of Louisiana road warrior Justin Wells released his solo debut, Dawn In The Distance this August; after nine years in southern rock band Fifth On The Floor, Wells decided it was time to get out of his comfort zone, and do something a little different.
“We released three full-lengths and an EP, we were #64 on Billboard’s Country chart,” Wells recalls. “That was the longest relationship I’d ever been in, the longest time spent on one job, everything. A lot of the new record is me looking back on that experience.”
A young Wells, who jokes that he chose to pursue music because he was “tall and sucked at basketball,” began learning every Metallica song he could find on guitar, and didn’t have an appreciation for country music until he entered his 20s. “I lived in the country, but we weren’t farmers,” Wells says. “I rebelled against country for a long time, and didn’t give it a chance.”
As for Dawn In The Distance, Wells’ gritty growl, yearning pedal steel, and acoustic guitar picking showcase lessons learned and experiences garnered from his time on the road, and have allowed him to start this new chapter of life with a bang. “I’ve managed my expectations, I knew I wasn’t necessarily going to be able to continue on the momentum Fifth On The Floor had built; there have been some really great reviews, and people have responded well to my solo material,” he exlains. “I was nervous to do something different, but I was ready.”
“I don’t necessarily consider what I do ‘country’, there’s no fiddle on my album, and it’s just as influenced by Springsteen as it is Hank. I cry too much in my songs to be an outlaw,” he laughs. “I don’t mind being considered a part of the Americana world, I think it’s good home for me. Americana is where honest music lives.”