We are all products of the things we’ve seen and the places we’ve been. For singer/songwriter, Stephen Douglas Wolfe, the journey to find a place to live and hone creativity has been an interesting one. From his origin in Lawrence, Kansas, to the fast-paced New York City, to finally settling upstate in Syracuse, New York, Wolfe and his music have grown along with every mile traveled.
Lawrence, Kansas is described by Wolfe as an, “… open minded town in a closed minded state,” although despite the feeling of safety within his hometown, he left Lawrence to avoid the temptation to fall into a slump of complacency. Like many other musicians, Wolfe then moved to New York City with hopes of finding more inspiration for his music, however opposite those who preceded him, Wolfe simply could not create. He found himself working in retail management and having very little time to even think about putting pencil on paper. The bustling concrete jungle yet again seemed to swallow another talented musician, although Wolfe’s destiny had other plans. He then met his wife and moved upstate to Syracuse where the writer’s block finally broke and he was met with an explosion of creativity, pent up from the time in the Big Apple.
Two of Wolfe’s most recent releases, “Thoughts and Prayers” and “Believe Me,” comment on the absurdity of the societal and political status of the United States. “I’ve never really taken a stance musically before,” Wolfe says, “When I was younger it was natural to write songs about heartbreak… Now I feel like I have an obligation to speak my mind.”
“Thoughts and Prayers” is a track written in wake of the fatal shooting of Baton Rouge native, Alton Sterling, and later that month the shooting of six police officers, also in Baton Rouge, three of which were killed in the incident, the other three injured. The song is intimate and soft, only including elements of a single guitar and one voice. It calls on people to take action instead of just leaving the sentiment of thoughts and prayers with those in rough times because as Wolfe states, in these times, “Thoughts and prayers aren’t enough.”
“Believe Me” is a song with many layers and from different viewpoints. Part of its anthem refrain, “I will not run, I’ll pay for the mistakes that I’ve done and not done,” is written as hypothetical but truly hopeful words coming from the mouth of presidential candidate, Donald J. Trump with hopes that he will not continue in the run for President of the United States. Using the same refrain lyrics, Wolfe states, “I’m not going to run from my duty to speak out.”