The Midwesterners Trio—leader and guitarist Richard Wiegel, Tom McCarty on bass, Mark Haines on drums—starting playing a regular Thursday night gig at The Essen Haus over five years ago. Rick Becker stepped in to replace Mark nearly two years ago, and then, almost a year later, Richard took a break to give his hearing a well-needed rest.
While Richard was on tinnitus hiatus, Tom and Rick, with Gary Hendrickson on guitar, kept the trio rolling with an eclectic mix of rock and roll, blues, rhythm & blues, country, and the obligatory polka or three.
Well, Richard has reluctantly concluded that his hearing and the boisterous confines of The Essen Haus can’t get along, not in the foreseeable future. That doesn’t rule out a future for The Midwesterners as a recording or performing unit. The Midwesterners name represents over 25 years of Richard’s musical endeavors, and that show goes on.
But the time had come to make a nominal distinction between the combo that was and the new lineup. The musical format continues and an idea to keep some phonetic and syllabic continuity with the old name prevailed, too. Thus Big Wes Turner’s Trio.
Who is Big Wes Turner? He’s kind of like Spartacus, simultaneously a regular guy and a near-mythic hero, someone whose identity any other regular guy, given the right circumstance, would rise up to claim. In short, he’s big!