Charles Wesley Godwin,
The TVD First Date

“I wish I could say that I discovered great songwriters like Townes Van Zandt, John Prine, or Kris Kristofferson at the age of four and from that day forth became a lifelong fan of the craft.”

“While growing up, I wish that I had frequented my local record store discovering new music on a weekly basis. I wish I could say that I begged my parents for a Sears and Roebuck catalog guitar before I could stand on my own two wee legs, but I can’t. In fact, I grew up not singing in church, assuming that I couldn’t sing at all, listening to Cher in the family van during road trips across the west, sitting in silence in my mother’s car on our way to school, and occasionally listening to the oldies station while riding along in my father’s old Ford Ranger. To defend my mom for a second, she spent her entire career teaching young children. I think she found those silent moments in the car incredibly peaceful. I get that now.

I had a tune stuck in my head many times in my early life. I specifically remember having songs like “Eleanor Rigby,” “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and “Fortunate Son” stuck in my head for weeks at a time. However, I actually had a hard time thinking of when exactly was the first time that I sought out a piece of music. I know that I never fell in love with music until I was nineteen or twenty. For days, I’ve been thinking about when was the first time I actually wanted to purchase music. I know that seems hard to believe considering what I do now for a living, but it’s the truth.

I ended up coming to the conclusion that Linkin Park’s Meteora was it. While growing up, the Godwin side of my family had a Christmas get together sometime in December every year. We had so many children in the family that it was impractical to get everyone a gift, so we did the secret Santa thing. All the aunts, uncles, older cousins, parents and grandparents would each have one kid to buy one present for. I remember asking for that Meteora CD for my secret Santa gift.

Let me take a step back and explain how exactly Meteora came to be the first piece of music that I ever felt the need to get. I was best of friends with a kid named Andy in the fourth grade. Linkin Park was Andy’s favorite band and he turned me onto them. At that time in my life, I think I had so much respect and admiration for Andy and his opinions that, in that moment, I adopted his liking of Linkin Park as my own.

While he was telling me all about them, he showed me the video for “Numb.” I became hooked and thus Linkin Park also became my favorite band. So for that Godwin Christmas party of 2003, my dear Aunt Sharon got me that Linkin Park CD and I was thrilled to have it. I remember I listened to it in my Sony CD player the entire ride back from the Christmas party. I can’t really remember much else after that night involving that CD. I do know that my pre-teenage angst and whatever else I was working through did pass. I fell back into a life that music had little effect on until I picked up a guitar in my early college years.

I can’t really say that Linkin Park strongly influences the music that I write today but I don’t think I can completely write them off. There was something about the emotion and sincerity of Chester Bennington’s performance all those years ago that my ten-year-old self’s disinterested ears couldn’t ignore. There was something there that made me want to have it, to take something from it. If any of my songs ever catch the ear of someone as disinterested in music, as I was, and pushes him or her ever so slightly to a life full of music, I’d consider that to be a great success.”
Charles Wesley Godwin

Seneca, the new release from Charles Wesley Godwin is in stores now.

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PHOTO: ASHLEY STOTTLEMYER

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