As kids, we’re told bedtime stories inspiring us to follow our dreams and fables that teach us morals that become the foundation of who we are as adults.
Generation after generation pass down these fables so that younger ones can glean an understanding of how the world works around them. And while fables aren’t usually founded on facts, they still make a huge impact on their audience.
The Young Fables have made their impact on country music fans. Laurel Wright and Wesley “Wes” Lunsford of The Young Fables hail from Maryville, Tenn. and are making a mark for themselves as they bring a modern twist to country music.
The Young Fables didn’t start off as a duo, instead Wright was singing with a band when she was in need of a guitarist after her’s didn’t show up for a gig. One of the other bandmates knew Lunsford and brought him in to fill out the position.
Over time, the other band members slowly left and just the two were left, creating The Young Fables. Their friend Patrick, who would later become their manager, helped come up with the name for their band.
“We were talking about how we had written a lot of songs with Laurel’s grandparents and he was thinking about that while we were sitting at a table and he was like, ‘That’s cool. You’re taking these old stories and you’re sort of making them new,” Lunsford said.
“Well it’s about the stories you’re telling, it’s not really about you. You’ll always be creating young fables,” Lunsford added.
Describing their music as modern, traditional music with Lunsford adding that the two either play “tradition country music with a modern twist or modern country music with traditional roots,” the duo are trying to carve their own niche into the music.
“I don’t feel like we’re just recreating what’s happened in the past. We’re trying to tell our own stories in that wide genre of country,” Lunsford said. “Because country to some people means just a specific thing, but if you look at it as a whole it’s so large from one spectrum to the other.”
And their music definitely tells a story, having elements of East Tennessee sound, and pulls on their journey to where they are now, which has not been an easy one.
Wright and Lunsford have had a challenging path in the last year, with Wright losing two of the closest people to her-- her only sister and her father. Although at times Wright didn’t feel up to working on music, which also affected Lunsford, the two have had each other as support.
During that time, Wright and Lunsford wrote “Daddy’s Girl,” a song paying tribute to Wright’s dad “Big Ron” and sister Lindy.
“Me and my sister are both daddy’s girls,” Wright said.
The song, along with the rest of the music writing process, will be a part of a documentary that will come out called “The Fable of a Song,” which originally was only supposed to be only about the song writing process.
“It turned into something else and then we sort of look back on it and we’re like it’s no coincidence that that’s the song that we wrote, so we want to continue to share our stories,” Wright said. “So, it’s become a bigger documentary and it’ll be out this fall.”
Beyond just the documentary, Wright and Lunsford are currently touring a lot throughout the U.S. this year and making a new record by the end of the year, following the release of their second album “Old Songs.”
Lunsford, who is a UT graduate with a degree in studio music and jazz, and Wright, a three-time American Idol veteran, attended their second CMA Fest with this year being the first time they were involved in the lineup.
“It’s amazing to be around all the other artists and then people you haven’t seen in forever,” Wright said.
“Performing in Nashville, you play in bars a lot and other places, but we do play the bar scene a lot,” Wright added. “Sometimes you don’t get the response out of the crowd, but then CMA Fest, you kind of see the love of country music that everyone has, so it’s reassuring.”
The Young Fables encouraged anyone following dreams to know that hard work trumps talent any day and success is different for everyone.
“If you want to be the biggest star in the world, you can do that,” Lunsford said. “But, if your success is to have fun, make whatever you want to do and make a living at whatever you want to do, then that’s a lot easier.”
“A lot of people think, ‘Oh, you want to move to Nashville and make it, I hope you guys can make it’ and we feel like we already have,” Wright said. “We’re doing what we love and with each other and that’s good enough for me.”