On "Cranes of Potter," he delivers a murder ballad with finger-plucked acoustic guitar and elegiac
melodies, unspooling the narrative with a storyteller's restraint. Meanwhile, "Temporary Town" finds him returning to West Virginia after spending five years in the midwest, celebrating his homecoming not with barely-contained enthusiasm, but with measured excitement, light percussion, and a steadily-building arrangement.
"I try to write with a sense of place," he explains. "Up until now, that setting has always been my
home, but I don't think this new album is as locally-focused as my previous release. I hope these
songs will connect with people wherever they live."
The son of a coal miner father and a schoolteacher mother, Godwin began forging those musical
connections in 2013, while studying abroad in Estonia. He'd learned the acoustic guitar several
years earlier, looking for a diversion after failing to secure a spot on the West Virginia University
football team. Halfway across the world in Estonia, he started strumming songs in his apartment,
summoning the sights and sounds of West Virginia for a group of new friends who'd never laid eyes on the state. Fans were made, gigs were booked, and Godwin launched his full-time music career shortly after graduation.
Marriage soon took him to Ohio, where his wife worked as a fundraiser. Even so, West Virginia
remained at the forefront of Godwin's mind, and he saluted the area's influence with his 2019 debut. Seneca was a hit, with Billboard praising the album's "the vivid language and scenic ambience," and Rolling Stone enthusing, "His voice, with its tight, old-world vibrato, is perfect." Godwin hit the road in support of its release, touring domestically one minute and selling out shows in European destinations like Stockholm the next. When the global pandemic brought his touring to a halt, he set his sights on How the Mighty Fall, creating the album during a period that also witnessed the arrival of his son and the migration of his growing family back to West Virginia.
Charles Wesley Godwin has never been afraid to blur the lines, and How the Mighty Fall proudly
straddles the borderlands between several genres. It's a country album by an Appalachian-borne
folk singer and blue-collar believer, laced with enough electricity to satisfy the Saturday night
revelers and enough scaled-down acoustic balladry to soundtrack the slow, gentle pace of Sunday
morning. For every "Lyin' Low" — a driving folk anthem, its larger-than-life melodies flanked by banjo — there's a softly sweeping song like "Lost Without You," which finds Godwin's voice echoing between stretches of pedal steel and symphonic strings. This is music for campfires and car rides, for pool halls and mountain peaks, for big-city diehards and small-town loyalists. It's Charles Wesley Godwin at his best, diving into character studies and richly-created fiction while still offering glimpses of the man behind the music.