[VIDEO] Country singer with Warrenton roots puts out charting album
Thursday, May. 29
The cover of Brooksie Wells' latest album 'Down Home Divas,' which is currently getting air time and charting.
Country singer Brooksie Wells calls herself “The Queen of Second Chances.”
With an adolescence that was wrapped around the civil rights movement, she was exposed to many talented folk musicians of the era. She recorded an album at the age of 19, and became a children’s singer songwriter once she became a mother. After raising her family in Warrenton, she has gotten back into the “grown-up” music game with the recent release of a new all women album, “Down Home Divas.”
“I believe that life keeps going,” said Wells after a recent performance at Drum and Strum in Warrenton. “It doesn’t stop when your 30 and all of a sudden the music business says, ‘Wait a minute, you’re too old.’ Oh really? Well, just check this out. We can do it again, have a wonderful time and have something important to say to everybody.”
Wells said that as an older artist she has different goals than she did previously.
“My goal today, being an older person in the business it to get my work out to a larger audience, to support young artists who are coming up, especially women,” she said. “I’m all about supporting women in the music business.”
With years of experience under her belt, Wells is a confident and smooth storyteller, with catchy and rhythmic guitar hooks.
“One of the blessings of having done this for a while and having worked with some very talented musicians is that I’m not afraid,” she said. “I’m thrilled. I’m also humbled by the fact that people enjoy my music.”
Wells began her musical career when she was 5, starting out learning classical piano. Her father bought her a guitar when she was 13. She jokes that she liked playing guitar because the boys seemed to like it.
She moved to New York City when she was just 16 to go to college. It was there that she got her first big break.
“Someone came to my dorm room and said, ‘Hey you wanna make a record?’ So I actually did a demo tape for Bobby Darin and he signed me,” she recalls.
Darin was well known in the '60s for his talents as a singer, songwriter and actor. He signed Wells with a publishing deal with Chappell Music when she was 19.
During her time in New York Wells played with John Lennon’s band, Elephant’s Memory and was part of a band called Kid Creole and the Coconuts, which was hugely popular in Europe and South America.
“I’ve been doing music my whole life and I was lucky enough to work with some of the best players in the business,” said Wells of her early career.
When Darin died unexpectedly in his early 30’s, Wells was left on her own.
“I was left without protection in New York and I didn’t have a mentor,” she said. “In those days in New York, it was difficult for women. Just ask Madonna.”
Wells left New York and moved to Virginia, where she thought she would stay for only a couple of weeks. She ended up staying for 25 years.
Wells married and had two children. She came to Warrenton in 2001 and began singing songs for children.
“I performed for kids around here and the Washington area for years and years,” she said.
Wells worked with Montessori school students and developed various musical programs for children. She enjoyed enriching young musicians in Warrenton during that time.
“I played here in Warrenton for a long time,” she said. “I’m very grateful to the Fauquier County area for the support of the music.”
“A few years ago, as my kids were getting older and I had some personal changes in my life, I decided that I wanted to go back to the grown up music business,” she said.
Wells decided to make an album. She released the classical country album “Been There” in 2005.
“It went kinda well,” she said. “I was nominated for a Wammie [Washington Area Music Award] for ‘Been There.’ I thought, ‘Maybe I can do this.’ So I made another CD.”
Wells’ most recent album, “Down Home Divas” just came out this past year and is already getting airtime on the radio.
“This is my first really fully produced, really out there record, nationally,” she said.
The album features all women players. Lisa Kay Howard, known for her radio show on WAMU’s bluegrass country, plays mandolin; Heather Haze plays horns and drums; Lisa McCormick plays guitar and banjo; Missy Raines, the International Bluegrass Music Association’s Bass Player of the Year for 5 years in a row, plays bass; Jenny Leigh Obert, a local musician, plays fiddle; Ruth Wyand, who just toured in New Zealand for Woman Sings the Blues, plays slide guitar; Nancy Gardner, from Wild Heart, plays drums; and a young up and coming musician Edy Blu sings.
While Wells is signed for radio promotion with Trespass Music, she is still not on a label. She said that being an independent artist gives her freedom to create the music that comes from her heart.
“I have a real fondness for anything local,” she said. “When you really support the local music community, starting with the children and working your way up you can have a life and a career in music.”
To learn more about Wells, visit brooksiewells.com.
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