THREE STORIES TALL
If you ask Three Stories Tall when they became a band, there are…well, three different stories. Pin pointing the exact moment is difficult, but the consensus is simply: each heard the call to make music together, and each answered. At some point, that answer became one voice: the dynamic, swelling, soulful harmonies this group is fast becoming known for.
Singer songwriters and recording artists Chris Wilson, and Bill Welch crossed paths at a Lakeshore Songwriters Series in early 2012. Each quickly became fans of the other as the series progressed. “My first time hearing Chris perform was enough to know that we would meet up together in song and in friendship.” remembers Bill.
The sentiment turned out to be mutual. “Put faith, soul, and music in a blender and you get Bill Welch.” Said Chris, who was, in turn, taken with Bill’s writing and performance.
The two songwriters’ paths began to cross more frequently over the next months. A true friendship was growing between them - as well as a recognition that each artist’s musical contributions could absolutely come together to create something new. Chris Wilson’s solo tour had taken him international more than once. Bill Welch had spear headed the production of four of his own albums with The Bill Welch Band. Each player brought a wealth of songwriting and performance experience to the table.
The potential was palpable to both of them. That potential became an even more irrefutable call when Bill introduced his oldest daughter, Hayden, to the Lakeshore Series. Bringing with her a long history of family music and eclectic influence, several years of back up vocal experience with the Bill Welch Band, and an undeniable ear for harmonies, Hayden’s voice added another dimension of vocal opportunities to the idea of a three part sound. It only took one song for that to be clear. As Chris says, “Her voice, quite simply, compels you to listen.”
“I remember hearing Chris for the first time at Lakeshore and feeling a little star struck.” Said Hayden. “The tonality of his voice, his disciplined talent on the guitar… I had hoped early on that we’d make some kind of noise together, but I had no way of knowing that he would become such a brother and musical mentor to me. And my father’s music is the soundtrack of my life. His music illustrates how he sees his life – through this lens of gratitude and joy and faith. To know and love someone so deeply, and to live in the music that grows out of that shared history, is so special. And now I get to be a part of making it. There is nothing better. “
The relationship between the three manifests itself in the sweet harmonies in their music. “I am just as moved by our rehearsals as I have been in our concerts. We are each in our own way, moved by each other’s approach and style of singing. There is a trust, a gift we give each other, in honoring each song we choose to perform. It’s easy to totally lose track of time when we are singing together.” commented Bill, now fondly regarded as “The Godfather” of the group – a name given endearingly by Chris.
“I used to stand on stage in cities around the world and despite the success, the solitude colored the light. I would look to my left and right wishing there was someone there. It’s not an overstatement to say that Three Stories Tall is a dream come true. Bill and Hayden have the voices and the spirit that complete my musical thoughts. I can lay my voice and words before them and know they will be cradled and cared for as their own. This is exceptionally rare.” Said Chris.
Three Stories Tall played their first official gig in July 2013, at a small summer festival in down town Rochester, NY, the band’s hometown. “We had about a forty minute set and our stage was set up over a sewer grate.” Said Hayden, reflecting with a laugh. “But I remember it was the first time Three Stories Tall was up in print on the showcase board and I thought, I could get used to seeing that.”
Over the next year, the group continued to create and perform for a rapidly growing fan base. The music itself seems to transform their venues from a room with a stage, to a packed, warm, living room of family and friends. An evening with the Stories is a “folk – meets – soul” experience, integrating each artists’ influences and styles into a sound uniquely their own. A sound rooted in love, family, and faith. “We want our music to just wrap its arms around the people who have come to listen.” Says Chris.
Throughout the course of the year, the songs and vocal harmonies being built by the group became rooted firmly in their first recorded project entitled, Prologue, to be released in fall of 2014.
Web design by Carrie Wilson
Photography by Michele Ashlee