TUPELO • Chad Wesley was nine dates into a tour last year when COVID-19 brought the Jackson-area blues guitarist and his band to a halt.
Before the tour was stopped, Wesley had performed at Blue Canoe in Tupelo. It may have been one of the highlights of his brief time on the road.
“It was my first time to play there, and we thoroughly enjoyed it,” Wesley said in a telephone interview. “We were able to put on a pretty good show. We had tremendous response.”
Even though the tour was stopped, Wesley resumed playing live shows in the summer with his band as well as solo gigs. Wesley and his band will return to Blue Canoe on Saturday, Jan. 23 for a long-awaited follow-up to last year’s show.
“I’m looking very, very forward to coming back,” he said.
Wesley and his band will take the stage at 8 p.m. Admission is free.
Wesley, who turns 35 on Jan. 28, has been earning praise for his blend of blues with a mix of soul and rock. The Ridgeland resident is a two-time winner of a Josie Award, a national recognition given to independent music artists, and is a multiple recipient of honors presented by the Jackson Music Awards and the Jackson Free Press.
“During my younger years, when I was a hired-gun musician, I had the opportunity to play in a multitude of cover bands,” Wesley said. “I played in some hard rock cover bands, I played in some country cover bands. I played in a lot of blues bands. Those three dominant influences of being that type of guitar player really made its way into my own style when it came time for me to put out my own music. So, when I would write a song, it really didn’t have a genre. It was more or less me melding all of my influences into one big pot of musical gumbo.
“As a singer and a guitarist,” Wesley added, “I do tend to lean more towards soulful, bluesy in nature, but there is the energy and the push of rock to it.”
Wesley channeled his influences into “Bluezy,” his major-debut album for Old Trace Records/Malaco Music Group that was released in October 2018. He was set to promote the 13-track LP with a tour in 2019, but he was sidetracked when an animal bite to his face forced him to spend six months recovering. He regrouped in late 2019 and assembled a band to tour starting in January 2020, but then the coronavirus shut it down.
With help from tour sponsor GB Spirits, Wesley has been able to bounce back from the shutdown. He regularly performs in venues near the Ross Barnett Reservoir and is booked to play at Martin’s Downtown in Jackson the night before coming to Tupelo.
“I’ve had quite a bout to promote my recent record, but there are plans in place for me to start a new record this year,” Wesley said. “Hopefully, after this new record is done, I can launch another sponsored tour. But I will continue to play live this year without it being an actual tour.”