Cell Block beach party to feature George Wesley

Reggae sensation George Wesley will perform at 10:30 p.m. Saturday at the Cell Block, 154 W. Third St.

“He has never played at the Cell Block before so this will be his first show here. We chose him because we are having a beach party that weekend and we felt that he fit the theme perfectly,” Josh Hertwig, Cell Block owner, said.

Wesley, who hails from Factoryville, said he “got into music through my father, who was a country western guitarist and singer.”

Over the years, Wesley has played the stage along with many other famous acts, such as Santana and Tim Reynolds of Dave Matthews Band.

Awarded by the Diamond City Readers poll, Wesley was voted “Best Singer-Songwriter” in 2008, and “Best Old School Band/Musician” in 2010.

“I got into reggae through the infectious groove and my ‘spiritual journey,’ ” Wesley said. “Having Charles Wesley (composer and founder of The Methodist Church) as an ancestor, I knew the power of music on the spiritual level. Bob Marley carried that message. I wanted to play that kind of music and was ridiculed. Validation came in the mid-1970s through seeing Jerry Garcia covering Bob Marley, Peter Tosh and Jimmy Cliff. If he could do it, I knew … I had to do it!”

In addition to his own original material, Wesley does a tribute to Bob Marley called “George Wesley’s Exodus.” Wesley also likes to cover songs by artists like Peter Tosh, Eric Clapton, Jimmy Hendrix, Jimmy Cliff, Bob Dylan, and the Grateful Dead.

The multi-talented Wesley said he plays “guitar, bass, keyboards, melodic, harmonica, percussion and a little banjo, mandolin and lap steel guitar.”

“I do perform solo with my live looping project, Small Axe Orchestra but I will be at The Cellblock with George Wesley’s I-tations, a reggae band I’ve put together for 2014 with special guest on bass and vocals, from Jamaica, musician/actor ‘Lion’ Sandford,” Wesley said.

According to Wesley, new songs are always in the works and one may even happen at the show based on “pure inspiration.” Wesley will be out touring all summer, and will be putting together a Southern tour for the fall.

Wesley said that for this weekend, “We will be celebrating spring. It’s been a long winter and we want to get people out and dancing the winter blues away. Positive vibrations to cause a celebration and nice up the nation!”

Wesley writes his own lyrics, and cites for his lyrics basis, “I do write with life and Jah love as my inspiration.”

“I was born to play music and I will continue to make a joyful noise until the end of my earthly journey,” Wesley said.

Doors will open for the show at 9 p.m. The show is for patrons 21 and older.

For more information, visit www.georgewesley.com.