Afton Wolfe – Twenty-Three
Afton Wolfe – Twenty-Three
Format: CD – Digital
Label: Grandiflora Records
Release date: May 5, 2023
Afton Wolfe’s new mini-album ‘Twenty-Three’ is the follow-up to his acclaimed 2021 debut LP, ‘Kings for Sale‘, which made waves on both sides of the Atlantic.
While Twenty-Three’s title is more than an allusion to its calendar date and the year of the nascent millennium, the number 23 also has a revered history steeped in mystical properties as Wolfe explains, “The number 23 is magic, and as such, it has been significant in my musical journey, so my delusional apophenia led me to release these 5 (2+3) songs together for the purpose of conjuring all the magic I possibly could from this music.”
While four of the five tracks on Twenty-Three have previously hit digital services, on Twenty-Three they’ve been compiled into a physical release for the first time. The lone wolf among the new chapters is the Memphis soul/Motown inflected ‘Cry’, which open-heartedly imbues the latest spiritual journey.
Packing an emotional wallop with a dash of gospel doo-wop, the song features stirring vocal harmonies from Melanie Dewey (Mello), and Regina McCrary of the McCrary Sisters, daughters of Baptist preacher, Reverend Samuel H. McCrary, a founding member of The Fairfield Four. Regina toured with Bob Dylan for a stretch in the early 80s and has provided backing vocals for seminal albums by Carrie Underwood, Margo Price and Allison Russell.
Wolfe was thrilled the pair was able to add additional weight to the gravity of the sentiment, “Cry is a song that came about while I was trying to find the words to console a friend who had just suffered an unimaginable tragedy, losing his wife and the mother of his three daughters. After trying for days to compose a sentence or two to text him, this song was completely written in a matter of minutes. It’s the most emotional song I’ve ever written.”
Born in McComb, and growing up in Meridian, Hattiesburg, and Greenville, Mississippi, the roots of American music are in Wolfe’s DNA. Mississippi is the birthplace of at least three American art forms: country music, blues music, and rock and roll. Meridian is the birthplace of Jimmie Rodgers, while the Mississippi Delta is the birthplace of the blues, and the first rock ‘n’ roll notes ever played according to intelligent music historians, came from Hattiesburg. Spending his musically formative years in and around New Orleans, where the humidity of the Mississippi combined with the Cajun seasonings, the jazz, zydeco, creole, and gospel music, his Mississippi roots coalesce to add resonance and depth to his blues, country and rock influences.
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