When The Wynn Brothers Band, a family affair of epic proportions, proudly announce they are "Southern by the grace of God," a fine line is made sharper by all the mind's immediate reference points: Confederate flags, Wal-Marts and Republican rallies. It's a side effect, sometimes merited, of a musical landscape at least three decades removed from the movement's original ideals, or lack thereof, and the current marketing strategies of blue-collar trash rockers.
The Wynns carefree leading brothers Jordan and Thomas; their father, Tom, providing the resounding backbeat, uncle Leroy on a humbly shredding guitar, and sister Olivia on the ready with melodious aid represent a different kind of South: the kind of dreamy storybook of the past that may not have ever existed. The kind of South dominated, musically, by '60s and '70s traditionalists The Band (who, though not actually Southern, are the Wynns' favorite) and the Allman Brothers. An era when songwriting was considered as important as a cold beer.
"I don't think we're Southern rock," says Jordan Wynn, the guitarist and easily the most animated stage presence in the group. "It's family, whatever that means to you. It's empowering people. If I'm at work, I can be listening to The Band and I'm not even there. I'm somewhere else, and that's what I want our music to be about."
The Wynns like to kick off their live shows with "The Weight," a midtempo warm blanket of a tune by The Band, with a chorus that tells a life-weary crowd to "take a load off." There could be no better announcement of the Wynns' intentions or musical influence.
If there were ever a couple of kids who never should've heard the phrase "go out and get a real job," it's Jordan and Thomas. The sons of Tom (a member of legendary Orlando garage band We the People and a Country Music Hall of Fame inductee) and acting band manager Debra, they maintain that a strong work ethic somehow came through.
"I'm a supervisor for a commercial construction company," says Jordan. "It's only at night that I don't have a real job. My dad was a working musician for a long time, but that didn't pay the bills. When we're playing, we look at it like a business. We're trying to make it a career, but I still have a mortgage."
And so it goes for a steadily working, widely respected (they were finalists for the Band of the Year at the 2005 Songwriters Showcase of America) Southern rock band who aren't really Southern rock: carving out an identity in a misunderstood genre, writing soaring crowd-pleasers, and putting hammer to nail in the sweltering Florida sun, dreaming of some day becoming someone else's day-labor escape.
The Wynn Brothers Band
with Bobby Sanders
11 am-3 pm Saturday, March 25
Kelly Park/Rock Springs, Apopka