When Woody Wiley went to Boot Barn Hall for a concert in late September, it wasn’t for work.
But Wiley, who has his own band in addition to a behind-the-scenes career in the industry, can’t shy away from music. Like when he watched Ward Davis, a Nashville-based country singer, perform an original song called “Last Monday of May”.
In the crowd with his wife, Wiley knew he wanted to cover the touching song on Memorial Day. And he had the perfect gig for that.
Wiley will launch his version of “Last Monday of May” on Friday at Vet Fest at Boot Barn Hall, a musical night in honor of Veterans Day. The concert, which also features Pueblo musicians Cody Cozz and Mitch Carter, is open to the public and is free to those who are actively serving or have served in the military.
âThe song resonated with me pretty well,â Wiley said. “It’s very well written and it’s about veterans, so it made sense for this show.”
It’s the kind of song that inspired the Colorado Springs musician to form his band, the Black Rose Band, about 12 years ago.
After learning to play the guitar at the age of 7, the Missouri native first had an affinity for rock music. He decided that country tunes suited his voice better. And he decided he preferred the genre’s stance on storytelling.
âIt’s more real,â Wiley said of country music. âIt’s more emotional to hear songs about real things and things that everyone can relate to. “
From there was born the Black Rose Band, a country cover band that still includes George Strait and Garth Brooks in their shows and has performed everywhere from the Colorado State Fair to a bar built from two double-width trailers.
Since forming the band, Wiley says he’s seen at least 30 band members come and go. He is the glue that keeps the group alive, which he does while working daily in sound and stage production.
âMusic is just a little bit in my blood,â he said.
So Wiley knows when a song stands out from him. This is what happened with âLast Monday of May,â which starts from the perspective of a soldier who died at the Battle of Chancellorsville during the Civil War.
“There are seasons when it seems everyone has forgotten me,” say the lyrics, told from the solitary grave of the soldier. âUntil the last Monday in May. “
As the song continues, it mentions other wars from the past and “whatever wars are yet to be fought.”
Davis released the song in May 2018 in honor of Operation Song, a non-profit organization whose mission is to empower members of the military community to tell their stories through the songwriting process. Proceeds from sales of the song on iTunes go to Operation Song.
Wiley, whose brother and half-brother are military veterans, says the song is special to him. And he can’t wait to play it live, with others that match the theme of Vet Fest on Friday.
âThe least we can do is play music for them and thank them for what they have done for us,â Wiley said. “It’s just a matter of respect.”