Some moments you just don’t forget. Super Bowl Sunday was one such day in the life of James Wesley. But, it had nothing to do with the game.
“I was sitting on the floor with my daughter and my son,” says the Broken Bow recording artist. “During the commercials on the Super Bowl, we were playing Battleship on the floor. All of a sudden, I hear this voice. I’m thinking that I hadn’t heard that voice in a long time, but I knew exactly who it was. It was Paul Harvey talking, and showing all these farmers and how had they work. I thought about how people don’t realize how much hard work it takes to be a farmer. I thought if we only had a song to follow this commercial up with, how awesome it would be.”
The week was about to take a magical turn for the singer. “So, Monday, I called my manager Jim Mazza, and told him about it, and he agreed. The next day, Benny – my label president, calls me, and says ‘James, I’ve found you a song. I hope you like it.’ I asked what it was called, and he said ‘Thank A Farmer,’ and I couldn’t believe it. While we’re talking, he asks me if I can be at the studio at 6. We were getting ready to head to South Dakota the next day. He said ‘It’s 5 o’clock.’ I said ‘I’ll be there.’ I was so thankful to have the song. It’s so well-written – Steve Bogard, Josh Thompson, and Dustin Lynch wrote it. We tracked it, then the next day I put my vocals on it. Thursday, it was being mixed and mastered, and Friday it was at radio. It was quick. It resonates with everyone.”
Wesley says the song has made quite an impact with his live crowds as well. “This record has been awesome to get out there and play. We’ve got FFA chapters all throughout the nation Tweeting me, which has been very cool. We played Gettysburg, PA – it was the first show where we tried the song out, and got a standing ovation. We played it again, because you never know if it’s a fluke, in California, and got another one. That was really cool, because we were opening for Dustin, who co-wrote the song. It speaks for itself. I think people can relate to it – whether they’re a farmer or not. They’ve still got to eat three times a day.”
The singer also told Billboard that the song took him back to his root in tiny Mound Valley, Kansas. “Growing up in a small town was a lot of fun. Of course, when you’re young, you’re always thinking about how you can’t wait to leave. But, you look back later on, and you realize how much you learned there. Just growing up with a bunch of great people and a hard work ethic. That’s one of the things I am so grateful for. It seemed like everybody had a tractor and a pickup truck. We lived smack dab in the middle of it all.”
Another place the singer loves to be in the middle of is at the Grand Ole Opry, where he says he is blessed to have played quite a bit. “When you get the call or email from Gina Keltner at the Opry, it’s what you long for growing up — to play that stage. You hope that dream comes true. I’ve been fortunate to have played it about sixteen times, and there’s nothing better than that — other than seeing your babies’ born.”
“Thank A Farmer” will be included on Wesley’s debut album, planned for release later in 2013.