Behind the Scenes: A Conversation with 49 Winchester at the Back Home Festival

Posted by Jonathan Napier on

From June 23 to 25, the much-anticipated Back Home Festival took place in New Martinsville. This annual gathering has earned its reputation as the Best Festival in West Virginia, as recognized by WV Living Magazine. As someone who has attended every edition of the festival, I can personally vouch for the unforgettable experiences and well-executed arrangements that make it a standout event.

The organizers behind Back Home have consistently outdone themselves year after year, curating a music festival that is truly worth experiencing. Their dedication and meticulous planning shine through, creating an atmosphere that brings people together through the power of music and community.

This year, I had the incredible opportunity to collaborate with 49 Winchester, the headlining band for Friday night, and their record label, New West Records. We arranged a special signing event and interview in the artist trailer before their highly anticipated performance. It was a privilege to work closely with such talented musicians and to witness firsthand the behind-the-scenes energy and excitement leading up to their show.

As we indulged in a plate of mouthwatering barbeque, accompanied by a refreshing cold beer and a generous serving of "greens" on the side, our conversation flowed effortlessly. While hanging out before signing records I got to meet the band on a real level, even though our time together was brief.

Behind the Scenes: A Conversation with 49 Winchester at the Back Home Festival
49 Winchester, consists of Isaac Gibson as the singer and guitarist, Chase Chafin on bass, Tim Hall on keyboards, Justin Louthian on drums, Brandon "Bus" Shelton as the lead guitarist, and Noah Patrick playing the pedal-steel. They describe their music as a fusion of tear-in-your-beer alt-country, sticky barroom floor rock-n-roll, and high-octane Appalachian folk.

During our conversation, one thing that stood out was the origin of their name, 49 Winchester. The band members, fresh out of high school, chose it based on the address of Gibson's childhood home in Southwestern Virginia. The significance of this place resonates deeply with them and serves as a testament to their roots. Interestingly, even the fans have embraced the significance of the name, leading Gibson to amusingly remark, "The street signs have repeatedly gone missing, and the city has had to replace them several times."

Their stories reflected a shared passion and dedication to their craft, a commitment to live life on their own terms and pursue their musical dreams with unwavering determination. As the conversation carried on, Brandon "Bus" Shelton shared a personal story that resonated deeply. He expressed how he feels a sense of liberation while on the road, considering it a home away from home, despite missing his actual home. It's the lifestyle he desires and embraces wholeheartedly.

Behind the Scenes: A Conversation with 49 Winchester at the Back Home Festival Bus Shelton 

Curiosity led me to inquire about their experiences in the music industry and whether there was a defining moment when they knew they were destined for success. While their responses varied, a common thread of excitement and gratitude emerged. Each stage, each crowd seemed to surpass the previous, fueling their enthusiasm for the journey ahead. It was a collective turning point when they made the courageous decision to leave their day jobs behind and commit to the band wholeheartedly. Recalling that pivotal moment, "Bus" Shelton admitted to feeling nervous, yet trusting his instincts, while Isaac Gibson exuded a rockstar-like confidence, declaring that this is precisely what he was born to do—nothing else could compare.

Our conversation delved into their upcoming world tour, where they would be opening for Luke Combs in the fall. The anticipation of the upcoming shenanigans filled the air, and the band members eagerly shared anecdotes from their previous international trip. For these Appalachian boys, venturing beyond their country's borders was a significant milestone. It was a special experience for them, as it marked their first time on an international adventure.

Isaac Gibson recounted a nerve-wracking incident that nearly jeopardized their trip before it even began while attempting to leave the Nashville Airport. In a true testament to their authentic Appalachian style, he had inadvertently left a rifle cartridge in his bag's pocket from a hunting trip the weekend prior. He feared that this oversight would bring their journey to a halt. However, to their relief, the mishap did not hinder their plans. Looking back, they realized that such occurrences might be somewhat commonplace, given the context of Tennessee.

Noah Patrick chimed in with a humorous tale from their previous international tour. He shared the amusing account of falling ill on the London "tube" and hastily disembarking the train to find himself unexpectedly emptying his stomach on a random platform, much to the surprise of unsuspecting Londoners. Gibson leaned over and said “ He loves telling that story, tells it to everyone.”

As we finished the last sips of our beers, the guys kindly concluded the signing session, leaving their autographs on the records I had brought. The timing couldn't have been better, as the show was about to start. These Appalachian good ole boys embody the true spirit of their roots. If you're a fan of modern country stars like Tyler Childers, Sturgill Simpson, Whiskey Myers, and similar artists, catching 49 Winchester on their summer tour is an absolute must.

Behind the Scenes: A Conversation with 49 Winchester at the Back Home Festival

49 Winchester will be zigzagging through the states, delivering their soulful, country tunes, until they wrap up their journey at the Healing Appalachia 2023 music festival in Lewisburg, WV happening September 21 to 23, 2023.

You can also grab your copy of 49 Winchester - Fortune Favors The Bold (Indie Exclusive, Translucent Orange LP Vinyl, Autographed) exclusively at Nail City Record and

49 Winchester - Fortune Favors The Bold (Indie Exclusive, Translucent Orange LP Vinyl, Autographed)

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