WellswoodBig Legal Mess
***Thomas Dollbaum is writing from a land without a past. “Florida is cookie-cutter,” he says. “Everything's new. Nothing's got any history to it. People from all over move down there to start again. Everyone I knew as a kid was from somewhere else.”
The album was recorded over many sessions during the pandemic in New Orleans in an old hotel suite turned recording studio by friend and fellow musician Matthew Seferian—later honed in and mixed by renown engineer, producer Matt Ross-Spang (John Prine, Jason Isbell, Margo Price) and Clay Jones (Modest Mouse) in Memphis, TN. It was then that the project found its way to record impresario Bruce Watson (Fat Possum / Big Legal Mess / Bible & Tire) who felt Dollbaum’s delivery fit perfectly with his own professional ethos and catalog (Junior Kimbrough, Water Liars, Jimbo Mathus, Alexa Rose).
Listening to Wellswood feels like you're listening to a series of southern gothic short stories. As Dollbaum stresses, these songs are more than mere diary entries. “Even in poetry, everything's moving more to confessional stuff. I just don't have much interest in that”. Wellswood is more like today's America: a broken land where wanderers still flock in search of whatever they can't find at home. Growing up there gives you a sixth sense for the uprooted souls and the desperate dreams that drive them. They've burned themselves into Thomas Dollbaum's mind in ways he may never shake. Instead, he builds worlds for them and invites us in.