Charles Wesley Godwin concert: Cue Country Roads in Salt Lake City!

Charles Wesley Godwin in August at SLC's The Depot

I neglected to post about the Charles Wesley Godwin concert in Salt Lake City more than a month ago at SLC’s The Depot. It hasn’t been for wont of enthusiasm: I was looking forward to seeing the leading man of the West Virginia Mafia taking over alt country, and he delivered in every way.

Charles Wesley Godwin concert wows

I came into the Charles Wesley Godwin concert at a disadvantage: I hadn’t previewed the singles from his upcoming Family Ties album, which came out in September.

The truth is, I’m a little late to the CWG party generally, and came to see Morgantown’s favorite son based more on reputation. He has become known for upstaging Zach Bryan as Bryan’s opener early in the year, giving a motivational speech to the Mountaineer football team this fall and emerging as the leader of the emerging West Virginia scene. Side note: Godwin entered school hoping to play football as a Mountaineer but fell back on music. We are lucky all fortunate for his career decision!

I’m unfortunately relying on six week old text notes to myself from the concert. However, they are prompting some vivid recollections.

One thing I was blown away by was the size of Godwin’s touring act. A total of seven musicians were on stage during the CWG show, including four guys on guitar, a pedal steel player, keyboardist and drums. Basically one drummer short of The Allman brothers at Fillmore East.

Godwin brought all the moves. Repeatedly dropping to his knees to solo, letting Joe Pinchotti loose for a John Bonham drum solo, guitarist and album producer Al Torrence perching himself on the handrail of the balcony for a death-defying solo and the ubiquitous “Country Roads” encore.

Guitarist and producer Al Torrence for CWG made me anxious with this balcony guitar solo!
Al Torrence, teetering on the balcony handrail at The Depot. Trained professional — do not try this at home!

Charles Wesley Godwin previews Family Ties and “Cue Country Roads”

Two weeks before the Charles Wesley Godwin concert in Salt Lake City, he announced the impending Family Ties release. He also released four songs from Family Ties on August 4: “All Again,” “Family Ties,” “Cue Country Roads” and “West of Lonesome.”

We’ve heard enough arena alt country this year to know how poor half-sung/half-shouted vocals can sound. But when Godwin hit “Family Ties,” he seemed to revel in every moment hearing the audience sing along as he belted out the climactic chorus:

Strike!
Me!
Down!
If I cut family ties

Holy moly it was so powerful, and hard to articulate the way the audience responded. There is also some Appalachian desperation in those lyrics.

Here is the studio version of “Family Ties” on Soundcloud:

Order Family Ties today. You can get a copy at CWG’s website.

Cue Country Roads

Godwin and the band returned to the stage for a single encore. They crowd-sourced a fist-pumping, adrenalin-fueled rendition of “Country Roads.”

Personally, as a West Virginia boy, I find “Country Roads” pretty clich├ęd. However, this is how Godwin pays the bills and it obviously prints with the audience. Here we are 90 seconds later, on the way out.

I am NOT singing but Godwin has obviously ended on a high note.

Cue Country Roads: Crowd chants the seeming inescapable “Country Roads” encore as they leave.

Photos from Charles Wesley Godwin Salt Lake City Concert

Charles Wesley Godwin was the center of the show
Godwin and Al Torrence got down on the floor and jammed several times in SLC
Seven people played for CWG
More Charles Wesley Godwin jamming from his knees!
Charles Wesley Godwin concert with Al Torrence
My favorite image from the Charles Wesley Godwin concert at Salt Lake's The Depot
Charles Wesley Godwin concert in SLC

Imperfect set list from CWG’s Salt Lake City concert

My pretty-close set list from the Charles Wesley Godwin concert in Salt Lake City

  • “Cue Country Roads” – Family Ties
  • “The Jealous Kind” – Live From the Church
  • “Miner imperfections” – Family Ties
  • “Temporary Town” – How the Mighty Fall
  • “Hardwood Floors” – Seneca
  • “Family Ties” – Family Ties
  • “All Again” – Family Ties
  • “Seneca” – Seneca
  • “West of Lonesome” – Family Ties
  • “Cranes of Pottter” – How the Mighty Fall
  • “Jamie” – Summertime Blues (Zach Bryan feat CWG)
  • “Seneca Creek” – Seneca
  • “The Flood” – Family Ties
  • “Two Weeks Gone” – Family Ties

Charles Wesley Godwin in 2024

Godwin is not scheduled to back in SLC before headlining for Luke Combs at the The Delta Center in June of 2024. Maybe he’ll be back before this Combs arena tour for something more intimate at SLC’s Urban Lounge.

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