Don’t tell Jesse Welles that rock and roll is dead; he’ll either punch you in the face or write a song about you that makes your own mother want to buy you to a one-way ticket to Siberia. The Arkansas songsmith has been steadily on the rise, thanks to availing himself of today’s standard stepladder to success. In his case, that meant hooking up with an A-list studio magician (Sturgill Simpson producer Dave Cobb) around the same time he reached legal drinking age, landing opening slots for likeminded acts whose audience he covets (Greta Van Fleet and Royal Blood), and then making the scene with memorable stage takedowns at highly visible star-making stopovers like Austin City Limits and the Bonnaroo festival.
He’s actually been going by Welles for only around two years now. You may have heard previous releases under names such as Jeh Sea Wells, Dead Indian, and Cosmic American, but the same sort of passive-aggressive, slice-of-wandering-life songwriting can be found on Welles singles like “Are You Feeling Like Me” b/w “Into Ashes.” Last year’s Nirvana-ish Codeine EP spawned a minor hit song and video for the track “Life Like Mine.” His March 9 performance at Space is ostensibly to promote his debut full-length from last year, Red Trees and White Trashes, but he’s also reportedly working on a new release that may be previewed from the stage as well.