Weston and the Evergreen, a student-led band, released their first album Jan. 24 and have gained thousands of monthly listeners on Spotify.
“Because of what we have in God’s love through Christ, we can remain in a state of being Evergreen,” Weston Weast said. “That is the idea behind Weston and the Evergreen. It’s me in a state of righteousness through Christ.”
The band started with Weston Weast, a senior music major from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Weast had been making solo music for two years when he wrote Kiss Kiss, the band’s debut song which started the band’s rise in popularity.
“It’s definitely my greatest talent and its definitely a gift from God for sure,” Weast said. “I find most success through music and I’m really starting to identify it with a future purpose or calling.”
The band’s name debuted along with Kiss Kiss, though the song was recorded with just Weast and some virtual instruments. According to Weast, he titled the band with “and the Evergreen” because he always knew he’d need bandmates.
The time to search for those bandmates came when ACU For Life asked Weast to perform at Sonder, a benefit concert where Weston and the Evergreen opened for Willow City. Weast asked Ryker Ratliff, a graduate student from Garland (drums), Duncan Welborn, a sophomore biblical languages major from Greenville (guitar), and Hunter Wood (bass) to join.
“Someone had come in for a music class in the WPAC and just happened to bring his guitar,” Welborn said.”He heard that I was good so I just started wailing away on this guitar and Weston happened to be walking by on the second story and was like ‘huh, I didn’t know you could play like that.’”
Weast and Ratliff are 3rd-year RA’s at Mabee Hall, where they met and began their friendship which led to their musical partnership.
The four slid into their places quickly, with a lineup of covers of their favorite bands and a few originals sprinkled in.
Together, the band played gigs around town, got over 10,000 listens on Spotify with their revamp of “Kiss Kiss,” made it to the semi-finals in a national music competition based out of Hollywood, and began recording their first album.
Weast came to the group at the beginning of the 2019 fall semester full of songs and ideas. For the rest of the semester, the group met in Ratliff’s dorm room to finalize the songs and write the bass, drums, and guitar parts.
“As we started recording the album, we found ourselves sort of giving titles to our roles in the recording process,” said Weast. “I found myself presenting the ideas and lyrics, then Duncan would have ideas and Ryker would fine-tune those ideas. Hunter sort of played the devil’s advocate. He would naturally come in like ‘what if this doesn’t work with this.’”
The band spent the semester fine-tuning and perfecting the album, which was released Jan. 24.
Last weekend’s album debut concert was at Radiant Life Church in downtown Abilene. As Weast’s home church, the band says they are grateful for the access to the space and equipment for free.
“At the Sonder gig, I wasn’t really an experienced electric guitar player,” Welborn said. “All I had was a $25 dollar thrift store guitar that I bought in New Orleans and a cable. So for us to go from borrowing equipment from the bands we were opening for to in-ears, click tracks, background videos, and almost going to Hollywood at one point, that itself is kind of amazing.”
Weston and the Evergreen’s first album is titled 22 Years Young and features eight original songs with themes ranging from God to childhood memories to romantic interests. The album has been out for over a month with over 2,000 monthly Spotify listeners across multiple continents, the band’s continuous listeners spell success.
Though they have individual inspirations, the band cites artists like Jon Bellion and the Band Camino as inspirations for their performances.
For the future, the band is unsure what will happen, as several members of the band have graduated or will be graduating and moving on come summer, but they hope to gain as much experience through the band while they can as possible.
“We just want to thank everyone for their continuous support, and if you like it [the album], please share it,” said Ratliff.