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Music from The Woods — Hometown Musician Ian Wellman

“I’m drawn to the weird. I want to write crazy, big songs that can also be stripped down and still be impactful,” explains Wellman.

Did you know The Woodlands College Park High School’s 2010 graduate Ian Wellman is the co-lead singer for Motel Radio, a celebrated New Orleans indie rock band?

The previously introverted Wellman discovered music around the age of 12 by listening to his mother’s classic rock CD collection while strumming on her old guitar. A few years later, a high school wrestling injury put him on bedrest. While homebound, he began teaching himself to play guitar by watching a series of YouTube videos and asking local guitar teachers how to play specifics songs. Slowly, Wellman began to come out of his shell and started sharing his original lyrics and melodies with family and friends.

“I never felt anything I created was complete enough to share, but luckily my mom would always beg me to play. She was my biggest fan. She still is,” smiles Wellman.

He credits Rob Trimble, Dayton Savage, Corbin Paylor and Peter Stoud, friends whom he would freestyle rap with, for encouraging him to honor his passion for music during his teen years.

At Louisiana State University (LSU) in Baton Rouge, Wellman continued singing, songwriting and playing guitar and met fellow student Winston Triolo who also sang and played guitar. Wellman and Triolo had a similar beachy relaxed singing style that worked well together—so much so—that they started writing songs and singing harmonies together for friends at campus parties. Soon, they teamed up with Andrew Pancamo (bass) and Eric Lloyd (drums) and the band, Motel Radio, was officially born with Wellman and Triolo as the co-lead vocalists and guitarists.

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Days and Nights was their 1st album which they performed throughout the New Orleans area to sizeable audiences. Wellman explains that many LSU students who were band fans were originally from or had family in New Orleans, so they had this great stroke of luck having college friends/fans in the audience during these initial key gigs. He is extremely grateful for the band’s past and present fan support.

Motel Radio was officially discovered by Ron Richard who became their manager and booked them for festivals around the country including Austin’s SXSW, New Orleans Jazz Fest, Firefly Festival and Voodoo. They opened for bands such as Moon Taxi, Drive By Truckers and artist Kurt Vile. New Orleans’ Big Easy Awards awarded them their coveted “Best Emerging Artist” title which catapulted them onto the Louisiana music map.

In 2016, the band released their second album, Desert Surf Films, which was recorded at Dockside Studios in Lafayette. Wellman credits the incredible studio sound engineers for helping them shape their songs and cultivate their sound.

“A few years later, we have evolved, we’re more familiar with the recording equipment ourselves and our tastes have changed,” says Wellman. “We’re actually distancing ourselves intentionally from our original sound and it feels good.”

This past summer, inspired by a trip to Marfa, Texas, Motel Radio released their 3rd album, Siesta Del Sol. Instantly, the band was tapped with the coveted “One to Watch” status by Ghettoblaster and Offbeat magazine. With their playful and hypnotic lead song, “Midnight”, they embarked on a jam-packed 5-week 31-city tour across America with another band, Summer Salt.

Currently, Wellman draws his inspiration from modern indie singer songwriter Cass McCombs and the hypnotic rhythms from Nigerian blues bands from the early 1970s.

“I’m drawn to the weird. I want to write crazy, big songs that can also be stripped down and still be impactful,” explains Wellman.

The Woodlander sends Ian Wellman and Motel Radio best wishes on their new single due by the end of this year and their next album to follow in 2020.