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Arts & Entertainment

Appalachia by Way of the Midwest

by Izzy Cohan, staff writer

Wes Tirey is a senior studying Philosophy. Photo by Wyatt Pace

Recently, if you’ve kept your ears open, you may have heard the gravely voice of Wes Tirey echoing through the halls of lower Sunderland. Tirey is most likely tutoring at the writing center or humming his newest creation. When the singer/songwriter from Farmersville, Ohio isn’t in lower Sunderland he is either in classes pursuing a major in Philosophy or home in Black Mountain.

Tirey tributes his Midwest upbringing for part of his inspiration behind his music.

“In the Midwest the rust belt, bible belt and corn belt meet,” Tirey said. “It makes for a bizarre and beautiful experience.”

Tirey also finds inspiration in people like Davy Crockett and Daniel Boone, though, depending on the day, Leonard Cohen is his biggest idol.

“Leonard Cohen is an inspiration in that he considers his writing to be a duty – like you don’t have a choice; you just have to do it,” Tirey said. “Songwriting is the only way I can try to make sense of my place in the world.”

Tirey’s eight years of musical experience have culminated in his new EP titled I Stood Among the Trees.

Tirey presents “American singer-songwriting like you want it,” said senior Bryce Dow-Williamson, promoter of the White Horse in Black Mountain, a venue that Tirey frequents.

“He’s like what Bob Dylan was trying for,” Dow-Williamson said, with more vocal talent than the praised folk idol.

Tirey’s new album has also received recognition overseas, “like many great undergrounds artists do,” Dow-Williamson said.

Tirey’s EP, I Stood Among the Trees is available for digital download, streaming, and can be ordered through his bandcamp site.

If listening to EPs in your room alone isn’t your thing, Tirey will be playing at Izzy’s Coffee Den in downtown Asheville on April 22.

After graduation in May, Tirey will be starting a tour hitting up metropolises like Cincinnati, Denver and Chicago, among others. Until then he will be filling the halls of lower Sunderland with the strum of his guitar strings and the echo of his voice in between appointments with students at the Writing Center.

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