FAIRMONT – You won’t find a nicer setting for an outdoor concert than the riverside at Palatine Park in downtown Fairmont.
And the organizers couldn’t have dreamed of a better weather for Saturday’s Sounds Good Festival, which brought together several Mountain State musicians, including young Jeffrey Wayne.
Wayne performed several songs that will be released on his next album.
A song about his hometown in Wyoming County, W.Va., titled “3 a.m.”, talks about changes in mining towns. With lyrics that include “The line to the clinic stretches halfway down the block,” it’s clear that Wayne understands the challenges facing coal communities.
“’Three am’ is a song about coal miners,” Wayne said in an interview after his performance. “My whole family is from southern West Virginia. I wrote this about everything that happened there. It’s a sad song, ”Wayne said. “But I tried to put some optimistic stuff in it as well.”
His soulful voice with just the right amount of twang made Wayne a perfect choice for a late summer gig.
The festival started at 3 p.m. and, with Wayne performing to an afternoon crowd, he packed his bags for his next gig.
“I’m playing Belgiumfest later today,” said Wayne. Belgiumfest is known as an old-fashioned motorcycle rally held annually in Taylor County.
Wayne has three albums in the works right now, which he plans to release later this year.
“We do a bunch of stuff with My Hill Records,” Wayne said. “I have three new albums – we’re recording them all, and then they’ll be out in three months.”
“It’s going to be around 20 songs – around 20 songs – spread over three albums,” Wayne said. “There will be three singles, and I think the way we’ll do that is do a single, then two weeks later an album, then two weeks later a single, then an album.”
When asked if it’s common to release new music this way, Wayne replied with a smile, “No, that’s how I do it.”
Because today’s music industry is so diverse, musicians are often faced with marketing decisions that weren’t even considered a few years ago. Musicians are also put in a position to know the business side of music in a way that was not necessary in the past.
Wayne is clear on his direction though.
“The main thing is the streaming platforms,” Wayne said, “so I do things like iTunes, Spotify, and YouTube. And the record company also puts stuff on YouTube. I have my own YouTube channel called Jeffrey Wayne Music.
Fans can also find information about Wayne, including news on album releases, on his website at www.jeffreywaynewv.com.
Behind the curtain – and in front of it during his part of the show – Aristotle Jones was all smiles.
He was the organizer of the Sounds Good Festival and he knew the weather was on his side. It was a perfect 70 degrees with sunshine and a gentle mountain breeze.
The Sounds Good Festival was born out of Jones and others in the music world looking for ways to give local musicians a chance to perform.
“We want to highlight and showcase the amazing artists and recording talent that are here in West Virginia,” Jones said. “We thought it would be a good idea to have a festival so that we can raise them and be proud of them, and show the rest of the world what we’re capable of.”
Jones is known in the music community for his work with the West Virginia Radio Corporation, but he was also involved with a local record company.
“WVU has a student-run label called My Hills Recording Group,” Jones said. “They have two divisions, which are My Hills Records and Go 1st Records.”
With Jones, several of the artists who have performed at the festival, including Giles & Kuskey, Kirsten Edwards, Jeffrey Wayne, The Honeysuckle Vines, have signed with My Hills Recording Group, Jones said.
Jones and his colleagues have worked on other festivals and plan to continue bringing music to Palatine Park.
“We organized the artists,” Jones said. “It’s really grown up. Normally the music starts at five or six o’clock, but this one started at three.
The musicians from Saturday’s festival, whose styles ranged from modern country to folk, were all featured on Jones’ radio show.
But, at the end of the day, what matters is the audience.
Jay and Margaret Holman, and their friend, Martha Turner, came to the free concert to enjoy the music, as well as the sun and the fresh air.
In comfortable chairs and under colorful umbrellas, the trio nibbled while enjoying the music and the beautiful surroundings.
“The music is really good,” Jay Holman said. “We come here all the time. They have done a lot of things with this park, it is beautiful.