Sorry, you need to enable JavaScript to visit this website.

The Waymores return to Sundown in March

Thursday, February 24, 2022
The Waymores return to Sundown in March

Kira Annalise and Willie Heath Neal, known as The Waymores, will be performing their country hits at the Sundown Tavern in Ruston in March. Photo courtesy of Linday Garett

Country music will be turned up to 11 on March 19 when The Waymores visit Sundown Tavern.

Music history is riddled with iconic country duos. George and Tammy, Waylon and Jessi, Tim and Faith and of course, Johnny and June, just to name a few. This generation may have found its country couple in The Waymores.

“We always hear the comparison … all the time,” said Kira Annalise. “We appreciate it, and we honor it through our music.”

The honky tonk act is made up of a real-life couple, Willie Heath Neal and Kira, who met about 14 years ago at a watering hole in Georgia. Each started out in their own bands but noticed after a while it would be more lucrative to team up.

“We would go on tour with our bands and come home,” Annalise said. “We realized we were the only ones not really making anything, so we became a duo.”

The couple started their foray into recording by making a video cover of John Prine and Iris DeMent’s song, “In Spite of Ourselves” which garnered them a few followers. The Waymores decided to record and release original material through their EP, the Weeds.

The Weeds EP was a live recording with members of their touring band, but the project energized the act and bolstered their confidence to do a complete album.

The album wasn’t always supposed to be an album according to Willie. The group had begun recording and releasing singles and hoped to compile the tracks into a vinyl album. The idea was quickly shut down by their management and publicist who felt they shouldn’t sell themselves short.

“At first we thought, we would record some singles,” said Neal. “And then record a song every now and again then com pile 10 songs and put it on vinyl. Wendy (Brynford-Jones, the group’s publicist) said don’t do that and here we are.”

Brynford-Jones’ belief in their material to make a whole album came to fruition as the couple wrote and recorded their sophomore album, Stone Sessions, while they quarantined during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. Kira said the couple wrote much of the album while locked down, and their band breathed life into the project during recording. She and Neal discussed the new way their album had to be recorded since close quarter sessions weren’t an option.

“Making an album was different because everybody was at home,” said Neal. “Sending tracks back and forth over the internet. We had to relearn how to record an album.”

The couple makes their name as a touring act. Before the pandemic, Kira and Willie could count on being on the road about 200 days out of the year. Their show at Sundown Tavern is a homecoming of sorts as the bar and band consider them as “Honorary Rustonians” as Ruston is a frequent stop on their schedule. Willie has been touring Ruston for years as he notes several stops over his 30 plus years career.

“I’ve been touring for a while now and Ruston is one of my favorite places to tour,” said Neal. “We are the official unofficial band of the Sundown Tavern.”

Their concert will be held in conjunction with the Ruston chapter of Confederates MC’s Fourth Annual Darick Williamson benefit to raise money for the Louisiana Center for the Blind. Williamson died in 2018 and was a worker for the LCB. The benefit events will start at noon.

The Waymores concert is set to kick off at 7 p.m. with the doors opening at 6:30 p.m.