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Afton Wolfe is Mississippi. Born in McComb, and growing up in Meridian, Hattiesburg, and Greenville, Mississippi, the roots of American music are in his DNA. Mississippi is the birthplace of at least three American art forms: country music, blues music, and rock and roll. Meridian is the birthplace of Jimmie Rodgers, while the Mississippi Delta is the birthplace of the blues, and the first rock n’ roll notes ever played according to intelligent music historians, came from Hattiesburg. Additionally, he spent his musically formative years in and around New Orleans, where the humidity of the Mississippi combined with the Cajun seasonings, the jazz, zydeco, creole, and gospel music and his Mississippi roots coalesce to add resonance and depth to his blues/country/rock influences.
Afton’s first band experience was back in the late 90s with Hattiesburg post-alternative pop outfit Red Velvet Couch (1998 to 1999) where he developed his stage presence and also was able to release his first album and learn a bit about sound, recording, mixing, and engineering. After a short break, Afton came back strong with the avant-garde, instrumentally diverse Dollar Book Floyd (2001 to 2002), which featured Amy Lott, Tim Keith, and Mike Stokes, and released a very pivotal album, Red and White. During this period Afton began to naturally incorporate country music and delta blues into his musical playbook. After the Dollar Book Floyd project ended, Afton moved to Nashville and formed The Relief Effort, a rock power trio, with whom he recorded two more records: Don’t Panic (2004) and At Your Mercy (2005).
After a hiatus from performing and recording, Afton wrote, composed, and sang all of the songs contained in Petronius’ Last Meal. This was recorded in 2008 with the likes of Charlie Rauh, Craig Schenker, and Dan Seymour. Alcohol, academia, the quest for a better mix and a perfect album cover, and a voyage across the country to live in Washington for a few years kept this project on hold for over a decade. Finally, after a dozen or so years, the project was released in the Summer of 2020. Dark, tense, and moody was the flavor of the 2020 summer season, and the EP along with its two singles “Slingshots” and “Interrogations” fit the season too perfectly.
Afton used the momentum of Petronius’ Last Meal and the tension of the pandemic and surrounding climate to fuel his creativity again. And his upcoming release Kings for Sale is the product of that. The new record defies genres while still being distinctly Afton. The new record, slated to be released in June of 2021, was produced by Oz Fritz (Bill Laswell, Tom Waits, The Ramones, Bob Marley, Ginger Baker and many others) and featuring an enviable assortment of great musicians, including but not limited to Cary Hudson (Blue Mountain, Taylor Street Grocery Band), Daniel Seymour (David Olney, Tommy Womack), Adam “Ditch” Kurtz (Great Peacock, Carrus and Kurtz), Ben Babylon (SpoBro, Sir Please), Laura Rabell, Kristen Englenz, Blaise Hearn, Rebecca Weiner Tompkins, and several more.