Prescott's Wes Williams captures Louisiana roots in foursome's sound

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier<br>Clockwise rom top left, Wes Williams, Robbie Watson, Chris Fairless and Brian Moss, members of the Wes Williams Band will be performing Friday April 15 at 7 p.m. at Sundances Place in Prescott.

Matt Hinshaw/The Daily Courier<br>Clockwise rom top left, Wes Williams, Robbie Watson, Chris Fairless and Brian Moss, members of the Wes Williams Band will be performing Friday April 15 at 7 p.m. at Sundances Place in Prescott.

When the Wes Williams Band takes the stage, they want their music to put the audience in a sort of altered state of reality.

"I want to play music so that when people come out and listen, they forget about reality," said Wes Williams, 22, lead singer and guitarist. "I want to give them a break from reality for a while."

The band - Brian Moss on lead guitar and vocals, Chris Fairless on bass and vocals, and percussionist Robbie Watson - call Prescott home, but their fan base extends from the southwest to the southeast.

Williams was born and raised in Baton Rouge, La., and the band has toured the region and developed a strong following there, as well as New Orleans and Austin, Texas, and other cities and towns along the highways and byways they travel. Williams moved to Prescott toward the end of 2009.

"I came out for school and to play music and I ran into Robbie," said Williams, who attends Yavapai College studying criminal justice as "a backup plan." "Robbie and I knew each other, but I haven't seen him in 10 years."

"I came out west in February 2008. I just wanted to head out west," Watson, 23, said. "I didn't want to live in a city, so I did some research and settled on Prescott."

The two friends jammed together and played with other bands, but they wanted their own band.

Moss, 26, and Fairless, 25, already were members of the Prescott band Spafford. When they met Williams and Watson, the four hit it off and gave birth to the Wes Williams Band.

"We're just fun guys having fun playing music together," Fairless said.

Williams describes the band's music as "southern rock, alternative and soul."

"We're spreading the sounds of the south with an alternative twist," Moss added.

"We're southern sounds and storytelling," Williams added. "We do well on the southeast tours because we've got that kind of sound."

Although the band is known for packing the dance floor during shows, it doesn't bother them if people just tap their toes.

"We didn't set out to be a dance band," said Williams, who is an accomplished songwriter. "People just like to dance to our music."

"During a four-hour set, you'll hear about 80 percent original songs," Fairless said. "But we do play some cover songs."

The band prides itself on its unique sound, and the fact that although they help support themselves with their music, they're not in it for the money.

"A lot of musicians and bands do shows just for the money," Williams said. "Our belief is that we're not just playing music, we're making something on stage.

"It seems nowadays that no one cares or believes in anything. But you come out and listen to us and you can let yourself go."

In addition to their live shows, the band has been spending time at the Tone Factory in Las Vegas working on its first CD, which they expect to release in June. They are heading back to Las Vegas soon "for another week in the studio" on the 10-song album.

"It's a big deal to make a recording," Williams said.

So far, the band books its own tours and gigs, but that is about to change.

"We just brought on a booking agent," Williams said. "It's tough on tour. Sometimes you get paid real well, and sometimes you don't."

Between school, jobs and other commitments, the band has little time to rehearse.

"Our shows are our rehearsals," Williams said.

"We are a genuine band of rock and roll," Watson said. "We're not mainstream."

To read more about the Wes Williams Band, visit their site on Facebook.

The band next takes the stage at 7 p.m. Friday night at Sundances, 116 N. Montezuma St., in Prescott.