John Wesley's professional music career began in the early eighties in the area around Tampa, Florida where he founded the Southwestern Music Conference's showcase act Autodrive in 1991. The next year Wesley embarked upon a solo career and became the main opening act for the British progressive rockers of Marillion on seven consecutive legs of a world tour − especially in North and South America, the United Kingdom and Europe − where he played for an audience of hundreds of thousands of people. In 1998, Wesley started an extensive tour with White Lion frontman Mike Tramp as the opening act for the prestigious Peter Frampton-Lynyrd Skynyrd tour. After this tour he was for several for years the lead guitarist for the Scottish singer Fish (ex-Marillion). He even was the co-writer of Fish's album Fellini Days (2001).
In 2002 Wesley began touring as a guitarist and backing vocalist for Porcupine Tree. He has continued this role with the band through four album cycles and over 450 shows. In 2005 he produced and recorded his fifth studio album Shiver, mixed by Steven Wilson. In 2011 he played the guitar in the backing band of Wilson during his Grace For Drowning tour in the USA. In the same year he teamed up with Dean Tidey, who's mainly known for his work with the British rock band Feeder, to produce an EP called The Lilypad Suite. In 2013, Wesley toured as the lead guitarist with Sound Of Contact, the band of Simon Collins, to promote the album Dimensionaut (2013). He has also toured extensively in the USA and Europe to promote his independent releases, and to perform as an opening act for Marillion, Fish, Porcupine Tree, Sister Hazel and Blackfield . Recently Wesley's long-awaited sixth full-length studio album Disconnect came out on the InsideOut Music label.
Wesley's music has been called lyrically sensitive and musically dynamic. His songwriting style incorporates emotionally-charged vocals coupled with a melodious yet intricate guitar style reminiscent of David Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck and Alex Lifeson (Rush), of whom the latter plays guitar on Once A Warrior. Right from the opening track you'll discover that some excellent music is going to unfold. From the initial catchy rhythm the song evolves to irresistible guitar riffs in the vein of Gilmour. Second track Any Old Saint is a true classic that delivers extended and stunning guitar solos that you want to listen to again and again. This quality remains until the end of the album: well-structured and never flat or predictable. Wesley's ballads sound authentically and his up-tempo songs rock like hell.
With Disconnect John Wesley outclasses anything he's ever done before. It's a remarkable album with excellent guitar work, fine vocals and outstanding arrangements. In my opinion this CD is the culmination of all the musical input Wesley has had in the past several years. Artists like Fish, Porcupine Tree and Steven Wilson clearly led him to a higher creative level. Disconnect is just a stunning (prog) rock guitar album.
****+ Gert Bruins (edited by Peter Willemsen)
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