From the beginning of its creation, Wally West & Them Lostbound Souls has existed in the realm of old spirits. The music doesn’t just hearken a bygone era, each of its members carries a piece of those old souls with them in their styles. The release of Day of the Dead on September 18, 2012, signals the first incarnation of The Souls’ sound captured in the studio.
Wally West is the chief prophet for this group, writing the music and lyrics for Day of the Dead.
West hopes that listeners make their own interpretation of the title. For him, Day of the Dead, is many things: a milestone for one, and yet so much more for the singer/songwriter. "Day of the Dead for me is all about resurrecting those old souls from a less complicated time gone by," said West. This is music to inspire the common man to make a stand to resurrect those simpler times, when an honest day's work yielded more than just "another dollar."
Lyrically, West balances themes heralding back to Woody Guthrie, Townes Van Zandt and others. Musically, the group reaches deep into the musical undertones of folk, blues, country and rock ’n’ roll. This is a band without social pretense. The music identifies with the struggles of the common man, which makes it easy to connect with and hard to forget.
Day of the Dead, which the band self-produced and self-released, opens with an intro that begins the call of old souls with a lonely harmonica. As the intro builds the band breaks into its raw energy on "Whippin' Boy," drawing the listener in with a combination of powerful hooks and alluring passages. Call it rock. Call it country. Whatever you call it, it's the genuine sound of the Souls.
The song began as a reflection on the social uprisings in northern Africa a few years ago -- a conflict that still has major social implications for the U.S. today. What began as a rebels cry turned into an anthem for everyman, that you won't be "no whippin' boy no more."
"It's about the struggle," West said of the first song on the album. "Whether you’re fighting a war, the government, or one's individual challenges -- everyone has something that's beating them down. Sometimes you just have to stand up and crack a few whips of your own."
Songs like “Another Dollar,” which was co-written by West with blues guitarist Lazy J, “Other Side” and “Between the Lines” honor the blue collar boys. It’s a sentiment The Souls are well acquainted with. The band – West on guitar and vocals, Andrew “Pappy” French on harmonica, Cory Sanders on lead guitar, Brian Conner on drums, and Jordan Overturf on bass guitar – all come from blue collar backgrounds. It’s why you can hear the working man’s struggles in nearly every song.
“Tapestry of Rust” is by far the most poetic of West’s work on Day of the Dead, though “Gypsy Son” comes a close second with its down-home, stomp-and-holler vibe. "Tapestry" reveals his connection to the tattered communities that dot the back roads West got to know during his travels around the U.S. "Gypsy Son" pays homage to his roaming nature and the mother whose son was "born to roam."
For a band that roams, there's no song more true to that spirit than "The Highway." With the good times come the bad times and heartache is sure to follow. West pays tribute to those hard times as we all remember the last time we traveled “on the heartache highway.”
In fact, Day of the Dead was inspired by the traveling kind. It's a partial homage to those who are destined to roam; a tribute to those who make their way through the back roads with nothing but a tank of a gas and an open mind. The album has many miles built into it and the fortitude to travel millions more with fans of The Souls.