Corrington Wheeler is a former meteorologist, so he knows when a storm is brewing. If you ask him, there’s a deluge rumbling into Houston’s music scene and it’s expected to drench listeners in profound lyrics and post-hardcore sounds.
The tempest is Wheeler’s eponymous band, which released the album Seeking Light in March. The group has been hard at work since its first show last July. In addition to the album release, it’s played two dozen shows in several states since its debut gig opening for Alien Ant Farm at BFE Rock Club. Music aficionados can check
Wheeler’s progress this weekend when the band hits Walter’s Saturday night.
“I’m originally from Normal, Illinois and then traveled around the world while in the military. It was certainly a rewarding experience, getting to play music in different countries and experience their cultures,” Wheeler says.
Those have travels informed Wheeler’s music. His career began in earnest while he was in the U.S. Air Force, pursuing a military career as a meteorologist. He honed his musical skills as lead singer for a band called Signals and worked on the nuances of live performance playing shows in Japan. Once his military stint was done, Wheeler chose Houston to continue his education. Academically, he arrived to study digital media at University of Houston. Musically, he picked a good, but growing, scene to chase his rock-star dreams.
“After moving to Houston, I can say that it’s certainly a city that is showing growth for the rock industry," says Wheeler. "It’s a tough scene, certainly very little money from performing original music in this city, but musicians don’t play for money, they play for passion."
Wheeler found kindred souls here and pulled together a supporting band featuring bassist Robert Olson, Luke Wright on drums, and guitarists Michael Wetherbee and Alec Sanchez. Their combined passion for the music has resulted in some good gigs for an upstart unit. They’ve played with national acts like Bobaflex, Seasons After, Flyleaf’s Lacey Sturm and Chris Taylor Brown of Trapt.
But the band has higher aspirations than opening for bigger fish, some of which can be heard in Seeking Light. Wheeler says the album took a year to record and features several guest appearances, most notably Garret Rapp of The Color Morale (which has an approaching July date at The Secret Group) and Justin Kyle of Jamie's Elsewhere.
After writing the melodies for the album, Wheeler wrote a full page of philosophy per song, he says, then pulled lines he liked to construct each song’s lyrics. The album's theme is self-discovery, colored by the moral lessons Wheeler learned from travelling the globe for six years. "Each song, like a photograph, is only the split-second of a meaningful story,” he says. (His website offers a fuller explanation of the philosophical insight behind each song.)
“The Seeking Light album is meant to act as catalyst to listeners, to motivate and stir intellectual thoughts,” offers Wheeler. “Songs range in theme [from] masonry, esotericism, greed, love, death and societal infrastructure.”
"Your Erroneous Evil" is an example. Directed and shot by MPRS Studios, the song’s video is the first of a two-part story that concludes with “Sociological Structural Functionalism,” due in June. In the series, Wheeler says his video character steals “the book of knowledge, symbolic of the higher education available to the wealthy. He then preaches the book to each version of himself in different cars, representing different parts and emotions of his mind.”
“The lyrics within the song describe how greed is demonized by society and hated, but it’s a trait that’s ingrained into each one of us,” Wheeler explains. “If you can control your cupidity, then maybe there are certain things that are OK to be greedy about such as love, happiness and wanting to help others.”
Wheeler is trying to practice what he preaches by organizing community volunteering opportunities for nonprofits, where fans can join the band to help others. In the past, he says, they’ve worked on behalf of SEARCH Homeless Services, Shriners Hospitals for Children and the Friends For Life, a no-kill animal adoption shelter. The next volunteering opportunity is June 3 at Memorial Park Conservancy for National Trails Day, with the Greater Houston Off-Road Biking Association leading the project. Anyone interested can check the band’s website and follow the “Volunteer” tab.
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Aside from helping his adopted community, these opportunities help Wheeler grow a fan base in a music scene that can be tough to crack.
“It’s difficult playing new venues, especially hard for new artists. If I could recommend something to improve, I would suggest that more promoters give newer artists a chance,” he says. “Musicians are a community, a large family.
"As a listener myself, I’ve found that the best way to support your favorite local artist is to purchase their merchandise," he adds. "It can be time consuming keeping up on social media and driving all the way out to a show, but it’s super-simple to buy some merch off their website and it helps them expand their operation.”
Corrington Wheeler plays Walter’s Downtown, 1120 Naylor, 7 p.m. Saturday, May 27. Jonah the Runner, Bruce Hansen and The Racket, Far From Home and Morals will also be appearing. $10.