Though his career began over a decade ago with genuine rock n’ roll honky-tonk, Wainwright has broadened his artistic scope over the years to include music representing virtually every corner of the roots music world. His insatiable interest in music discovery, sheer love for entertaining and curiosity have led him all around the world, and the resulting perspective is a reflection of his passion for entertaining and creating progressive roots music in an effort to move the art-form forward. Composer, producer, vocalist, and award wining entertainer and piano player; Victor Wainwright is a raucous high-octane, dynamic performer and crowd pleaser with soul to spare.
The name of Victor Wainwright's band - and the sleeve image of their albums - is also the most fitting of metaphors. In music folklore, the train might have associations with the freight-hopping bluesmen of yore, but with this restless boogie-woogie innovator stoking the furnace, Wainwright is a charging locomotive - surging forward, crashing through boundaries of genre, sweeping up fresh sounds and clattering headlong past the doubters.
As the man himself hollers in the ivory-pounding track, The Train: "If you wanna boogie get aboard the train/Get yourself a ticket or get out of the way..." At a sweet-spot in his career, where most established stars would rest on their laurels, Victor Wainwright & The Train instead rips up all that has gone before, pricking up ears in a sterile music industry and stretching the concept of roots in bold directions.
"I believe that for roots music to grow, and reach out to new audiences, we have to push it forward,” Wainwright explains. The result is original music that walks a tightrope between scholarly respect and anarchic irreverence. You'll hear Wainwright twist boogie-woogie tradition on barrelhouse thrillers driven by his visceral piano style. But you'll also hear him fearlessly explore the gamut of genre, from Latin flavors and New Orleans piano to near-psychedelia. It's a musical cocktail served up by Wainwright's inimitable gravel-flecked vocal.
On this white-knuckle ride, only The Train could keep the music on the tracks. "I ended up with a hit-squad of downright amazing musicians that shared my curiosity for all corners of the roots genre. We wanted to capture how we feel performing, right smack-dab on the records we make, and I believe we've done that. Now I just try to keep up."
In truth, Wainwright has always been an artist that sets the pace. Born into a musical family in Savannah, Georgia, the formative influence of his father's vocals and grandfather's rolling boogie-woogie piano compelled him into a life of music. By 2005, he'd announced his talent with solo debut, Piana' From Savannah, while his central role in Southern Hospitality and partnership with Stephen Dees in WildRoots has seen him ignite stages and stereos for over a decade.
Among his numerous accolades: Wainwright has won six total Blues Music Awards, charted #1 on the Top 10 in the U.S. Billboard and was Nominated for a 2019 GRAMMY.
"Looking back on your career is a tough thing to do," he says. "Challenges are many, and frequent, but when you get it together, it can also be extremely rewarding." A man of many talents, Wainwright is a composer, producer, vocalist, piano player and award-winning entertainer. A long-standing leader of the boogie-woogie pack, he could refer you to his BMA and long list of Blues Blast trophies, or a catalog that has repeatedly hijacked the Billboard Top 10. But rather than dine out on past glories, this questing artist would rather you joined him for the ride ahead. "Of course, I still play and write songs that are just about kicking ass and taking names," he laughs. "But if you listen, what I'm really saying is, we got to get on the train and move forward with our love of roots music, together.”
Take a listen: Don't Shake the Devil's Hand.mp3