There’s nobody Cody Wright credits more for his musical success than a pair of funk-loving alien rappers who crash-landed on Earth back in the 1990s.
But we’ll get to that in a minute. First, here’s a bit more on Wright, who will be both opening (as Wright and Jeff Sipe Duo) and headlining as the bassist for Eric Gales at Isis Music Hall this Friday night, and how he’s been mentally working on this gig for the past 15 years.
Wright, who at that point in time was making his name as a guitarist, (think Stevie Ray Vaughan x jazz fusion) immediately latched onto Gales music for inspiration and enjoyment, hoping and maybe knowing that one day, they might share a stage.
“I really just kept it in my heart. Then I switched to bass in 2011 when I joined Jonathan Scales Fourchestra,” he says. “When I switched to bass, I sold all of my guitars, but I was still listening to Eric (Gales).”
A few years later, at a NAMM conference in 2014, he took that first step toward making that dream a reality. “I met Gale’s former bass player (Orlando Thompson). I recognized him, he had no idea who I was,” Wright chuckles. “We jammed a little bit… and really clicked. Soul brothers immediately. That was my initiation into that family of cats.”
While they were on the road, Thompson would share videos and music from Wright. When Thompson left the band in 2015, Wright got the call for a sit-in with Gales in Lexington, Ky.
“He loved it,” Wright confides. “I started getting calls to be a sub for tours and going to rehearsals. About a year ago he asked me to be his full-time bass player.”
Wright, who was already in the process of exploring new avenues apart from the Jonathan Scales Fourchestra, jumped at the chance. Even then, however, he couldn’t have quite envisioned the fullness of the opportunity available to him.
Gales checked himself into rehab for a life-long drug addiction in July 2016. Coming out clean and sober, he wanted to embark on a new tour, one driven by his newly directed energy.
“He has been clean for almost a year now, and this whole tour and all the energy around it revolves primarily around that. Eric is finally back and present and clean and able to be the inspiration to everyone that he always has wanted to be,” Wright says. “I feel blessed to just be a part of that whole message.”
That’s not the only message listeners will pick up at Isis this Friday night. There other goes back to those alien rappers. That message is this: if you can dream it, you can do it.
You see, nothing speaks to Wright’s ability to turn his dreams into reality more than the story of ToeJam and Earl. The funky soundtrack to that Sega Genesis video game was his earliest musical inspiration. And it’s a video game that, when re-released this fall, will feature music by Wright and a game-play level created specifically for him.
Wright, humble as always, sums it up: “It teaches me the importance of keeping something in your heart.”
Cody Wright plays at Isis Music Hall this Friday night. Tix are $15 in advance and $18 DOS.
Caleb Calhoun studied writing at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga and music at a plethora of clubs and bars across the southeast. He is the host of Soundcheck Radio (Thursday’s 3-5 on 103.7 WPVM) and Soundcheck AVL and the publisher of Rosman City Blues. He currently lives in West Asheville with his woodland mermaid, Dr. Gonzo.