With their latest album, “Fortune Favors The Bold,” Russell County, Va.-based 49 Winchester is ready and roaring to break onto the national stage with their unique brand of teardrop in your beer alt-country, sticky rock. high-octane Appalachian folk and bar-n-roll ground.
“As we got older and matured, our sound went from a softer place to that grittier, edgier tone we have now,” says vocalist/guitarist Isaac Gibson. “So we tend to be a rock band rather than a country band. But, at the same time, I don’t think anyone ever knew what to call it.
Although it’s 49 Winchester’s fourth studio album, “Fortune Favors The Bold” marks his debut for New West Records of Nashville – one of the leading labels for Americana, indie and cutting-edge rock. sound, range and spectacle.
Formed eight years ago on Winchester Street in the small mountain town of Castlewood, Va. (population 2,045), the band started out as a ragtag group of neighborhood teenagers who just wanted to get together to play together.
Besides Gibson, there’s also his childhood friend, bassist Chase Chafin, alongside other Castlewood pals – guitarist Bus Shelton and pedal steel Noah Patrick.
“Since day one, it’s always been a band and it’s always going to be a band. That’s it, everything we love about music – we’re going broke with this stuff,” Gibson says. “And that gives us a unique perspective because it’s still the same guys. It’s still all of us at Castlewood traveling, playing music and making this band a reality – it’s a story of growth.
And it’s that sense of growth—more so, a sense of self—at the heart of “Fortune Favors the Bold.” It’s not just a record that showcases the current state of 49 Winchester, it’s a melodic stake in the ground of how this band is constantly evolving and taking shape, sonically and lyrically.
Thinking back to his early days as a jack-of-all-trades stonemason in Castlewood, where it was all about trying to make ends meet in an effort to get 49 Winchester forward, Gibson can’t help but being grateful for a well- acquired notion at the heart of the group’s philosophy – everything worthwhile in life is built brick by brick.
“Everything has to be built. And very few people will succeed overnight,” says Gibson. “There will be people you see succeed in front of you. Maybe you think they don’t deserve it as much as you, haven’t worked as hard as you, haven’t worked as long as you. But none of that matters – it’s not you. They don’t live your life. They are not part of your experience.
At its essence, “Fortune Favors The Bold” is about going against the odds to grow your art and the world. It’s about leaving your hometown and heading towards an unknown horizon. And it’s about proving those wrong who sneered and waited for the day when you’d give up somewhere on the line, only to come home with your tail between your legs.
But, it’s also about looking in the rearview mirror with genuine appreciation of where you’ve come from and what you’re made of, those hard, salty traits of the earth in your blood and character that define what it really takes to climb that damn mountain of dreams – hell or hell.
49 Winchester performs Thursday, June 2 on the Mountain Heritage Stage in downtown Whitesburg during the 2022 Levitt AMP Whitesburg Music Series Opening Night Concert. The show is outdoor, family-friendly, and free to the public. The Whitesburg Farmers Market opens at 5 p.m., Craig Street opens the show at 6 p.m., and 49 Winchester takes the stage at 7 p.m.
Concerts are held every Thursday from June 2 through August 4 at the Mountain Heritage Stage in downtown Whitesburg. The lineup includes a wide range of music and exceptional performers from across the country. Go to, www.cowancommunitycenter.org/levittfor the full range.
The Levitt AMP Whitesburg Musical Series is a project of the Cowan Community Center with partners from the Town of Whitesburg, Mountain Heritage Festival Committee, Appalshop, Letcher Tourism, Whitesburg Farmer’s Market and CANE Kitchen .
The Levitt AMP Whitesburg Music Series is supported in part by the Mortimer & Mimi Levitt Foundation, a private foundation that enables cities and towns across America to transform underutilized public spaces into thriving destinations through the power of free live music. In 2022, more than 600 free Levitt concerts will take place in 28 cities and towns, all showcasing a rich array of musical genres and high-caliber talent. Learn more about levitt.org.
Major sponsors of the Whitesburg Series are The Levitt Foundation, Appalachian Regional Healthcare, Double Kwik, Appalachian Impact Fund, Kentucky Power, Pepsi and Appalachian Wireless.