Pate and Avery recruited several friends on the local music scene, including members of the Bridges and the Spots, to contribute vocals and instrumentals for a new disc, "Wiseblood Vol. 1." It's an eight-song EP, four years in the making, released by WEOWNTHESKY, a media company established by Avery and Pate.
Bear in mind that Wiseblood Vol. 1 isn't a traditional band, with a touring schedule and a manager and fervent hopes for national or international fame.
Pate and Avery, who previously played in a group called the Ashes, have ceded the major-label aspirations to others and opted for a do-it-yourself aesthetic. It allows them to make music (and maybe other types of art) as they choose, on their own timetables.
Wiseblood Vol. 1 also permits them to call on colleagues who are otherwise established in the music business, asking the performers to play specific roles on certain songs without "shackling them to a band," Pate said. Contributions from singers Brittany Painter and Natalie and Stacey Byrd of the Bridges, for example, radically changed the sound of "Dreams" and "There's a First Time for Everything," they said.
"I kind of think of it like casting a movie," Avery said. He's the resident arranger, producer and overall techie for Wiseblood Vol. 1. Pate, on the other hand, specializes in writing folk songs on piano and acoustic guitar. "Basically, the vibe is of a storyteller," Pate said.
It's no surprise, then, that the name Wiseblood comes from a Flannery O'Connor novel that is one of Pate's and Avery's favorites. O'Connor's influence has helped Pate to craft lyrics that are rich in Gothic imagery, laden with apocalyptic themes and laced with a love-hate relationship to religion.
"I write a lot of love songs," he said, "but they can have deep theological undertones. It can be a love song between a man or a woman, or a love song between man and whatever the divine is."