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For Wayne Sutton, former lead guitarist and co-songwriter of ‘90s hitmakers Sister Seven, music has been a lifetime journey. And as Sutton reconciles his 30+ year career as a musician with his role as longtime husband, father and music teacher, his new solo album Blue Worm – his third overall and first in nearly 15 years – now takes him to perhaps the most surprising place of all. “I spent a lot of years flying by the seat of my pants musically,” Wayne admits, “and got burned out by the business side. But when you discover a larger map, it makes you hungry to create again. The key to finding your own voice is honesty.”


2020 had begun as a banner year for Sutton, having officially reunited with Sister Seven’s Patrice Pike for their acclaimed Pike & Sutton album Heart Is A Compass and triumphant hometown performance at the Austin City Limits Music Festival. But when the pandemic hit, the duo was forced to cancel an international tour that included high-profile gigs at SXSW and Lollapalooza South America. “The shutdown was strangely freeing,” Wayne explains. “I suddenly didn’t have hundreds of shows to play or appointments to keep and started writing again. Most of this album was written between the end of March through the end of May, inspired by everything I was feeling and seeing around me. All of that fear, anger and uncertainty became the primary motivator to make this record right away. I felt it was important to mark this moment in time.”


If the songs were written of the moment, the album itself was created very much in the moment. Co-produced by Wayne and award-winning engineer/mobile audio guru Bill Palmer, Blue Worm was recorded in a 1914 wood-and-adobe church in the desert ghost town of Terlingua, Texas. “We recorded the whole album in four days over the last weekend in July, just Bill and I.” Wayne says. “We’d throw open the windows, record into the evening, spend the night under the full moon and bathe in the Rio Grande. In some of the songs, you can still hear the sound of birds that flew around the rafters. The entire process was a uniquely mystical Texas experience.”


The 11 tracks on Blue Worm – the title coming from a Filipino martial art move in which a deft blade literally spills your guts – craft an urgently plaintive chronicle of these unprecedented times. From the pensive “Tone Deaf” and ominous “Whiplash” to elegiacally autobiographical tracks like “I Can’t Sleep Through The Night” and “Cecilia”, Sutton’s songs deliver equal parts vulnerability and strength with guitars that bridge the sweet spots between rock, folk and roots. “I knew that I wanted to make a mostly acoustic record for a long time,” Wayne says. “I love the idea of just guitar and vocals really putting focus on the lyrics. You can sit around for hours talking about the state of the world, but sometimes you say it best in a song.”


Most of all, Blue Worm is a resolute testament to one artist’s own hard-won sense of optimism and hope. “If you love music and nurture your creative self, you can feel the same way about being a songwriter and performer in your 50s as you did in your 20s.” Wayne says. “Music keeps growing as long as you keep your heart open. My perspective is so much richer and wiser now, even when outside forces seem to work against it. In the end, I just wanted this album to sound like who I am. I think it’s the most honest music I’ve ever made.”

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Wayne Sutton

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