The COVID pandemic that essentially shut down the world for the past year could not have come at a better time for Country/Folk musician Charles Wesley Godwin.
His wife had just given birth to their first kid, and he was somehow to supposed to write and record a follow-up to his 2019 Seneca LP in between a massive spring tour. And as the dates were getting set in place, word of the lockdown was announced. Godwin, his college professor wife, and their new baby hunkered down for the rest of the year. Content at home with his family, he finally had plenty of time to write and record his ambitious follow-up, How the Mighty Fall.
Back on tour and prepping for the release of his new album, Godwin spoke with Glide Magazine about being pulled off the road on the cusp of promoting Seneca, songwriting without pressure, and learning to balance family and work.
Prior to the world shutting down, what were your plans for 2020? Did you anticipate putting your record out sooner or spending that time on the road?
My plans were going to be a lot of touring in support of Seneca. I never really got to put in a full year of touring in support of that record in a proper sense. I got on with True Grit in the Spring of 2019 after Seneca was released. They had to work around 53 gigs that I’d already booked for myself that year and I’ll just say that I am not a very good booking agent. So, I was really looking forward to seeing how much of a step forward I could take within the new system I was in and the team that I have. I doubt that I would have been able to finish this new album in the time frame that I did. With the pandemic going on, I was able to completely focus my efforts on How the Mighty Fall from last July until we finished it in November of last year.
After getting so much attention for your first record and knowing that critics and fans would be waiting for the follow-up, did you feel any more pressure writing this album?
Not at all. Honestly, none of that has any effect on me when I’m writing my songs. I can proudly say that I write these songs for the love of it. I would write these same exact songs even if I didn’t get to do this for a living. I feel very fortunate that I can truly just follow my heart and my gut with where my songs take me for better or worse. I’m in it for the love of the song.
What was the recording session like for this one?
It was a lot warmer! We did the majority of the recording for this album in September of last year in perfect weather, and on the first album we recorded during an arctic blast in January that had us shivering all week long.
Because of the pandemic you were able to spend a year at home with your wife and young son. Now that the world is finally starting to open up again, does having that year at home make it harder to go out and tour?
Yes, for sure. I realized how much I was overdoing it at the beginning of last year prior to the pandemic. After having that year at home and being able to see the benefits it had on my home and family life, I know going forward that I have an uncompromising desire for a healthy work/life balance. Slow and steady wins the race in this lifelong career path I’m on. Or maybe not? I’ll face the consequences if I’m proved to be wrong. It’ll be alright either way.
Have you started playing shows and touring again?
Yes, I got started with a five-week spring tour with Ward Davis back in April and I’ve been at it hard ever since. Making and releasing an album independently is very demanding in many ways, so I had to get to work if I wanted to see this thing through to the finish line.
This album definitely has a strong mix of country and folk. Are there musical influences that you have that you think would surprise some people?
I can’t say for sure if it’ll surprise anyone, but I know the two main influences on this album were Bruce Springsteen and Chris Knight.
What’s next for you?
Lots of touring! New baby on the way in February! I’ll have my hands full.