49 Winchester was the little band that could from Castlewood, Virginia, until they became the little band from Castlewood, Virginia that did. Spirited forward from the strength of their third album III released in 2020, and numerous local and festival performances that had folks raving about them, they signed to New West Records in 2021, and now will be releasing their latest record through the label called Fortune Favors The Bold on May 13th.
“Everything has to be built. And very few people are going to achieve success overnight,” says frontman Isaac Gibson. “We didn’t start out as a bunch of hot shot pickers out of Nashville. We started out on the ground floor — very basic songwriting and instrumentation. But we kept working at it, always progressing in what we wanted to do and how we wanted to sound — each song better than the previous one, the show this evening better than last night.”
That building started as a group of teenage friends growing up on Winchester Street in Castlewood (pop. 2,000) who just wanted to play some music. They approached the effort with no real expectations, and with an independent-minded spirit. Releasing their first record in 2014, soon the momentum took on a life of its own, and they started making some noise regionally, with their live performances earning them a strong grassroots following.
49 Winchester serves it up greasy, whether it’s Southern fried rock, honky tonk country, sentimental moments tickling the fringes of Americana, or a version of soul that takes all of those influences and stews them. It’s always Southern, but the variety of flavors you’re served keeps you on your toes.
It’s also the brotherhood vibe from this band that imbibes their music with that blue collar, local hero flavor. You want to root for these dudes. You want them to come to your town so you can buy them a beer. You want them to get big enough that they keep coming to your town, but not so big that they stop.
All of that can be heard in their new song “Annabel,” with the harmony vibes immediately making the hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention, and Isaac Gibson’s soulful voice selling you on the story (listen below).
49 Winchester has big appearances coming up this year at Floydfest, Merlefest, the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion, and others. Fortune Favors The Bold is an apropos title for their fourth album, and it’s now available for pre-order.
2. Man’s Best Friend
3. Russell County Line
4. All I Need
5. Hillbilly Daydream
6. Damn Darlin’
7. Fortune Favors The Bold
8. Second Chance
10. Last Call