Connoisseurs of fermented grapes are not the only people attracted to the Shawnee Hills Wine Trail.
The 40-mile trek that covers some of the most scenic views in Southern Illinois is also becoming a hotbed of entertainment.
“I love the wine trail. It's such a cool setting for an acoustic show,” singer/songwriter Dom Wier, of Nashville, said. “There are great music fans at the venues, some fantastic people there who truly appreciate music. I'm look forward to playing there many times this year.”
Wier released “New Waters,” a four-song EP, in January. He will perform each tune from the project at 4 p.m. Saturday when he appears at StarView Vineyards in Cobden.
For additional information, call 618-893-9463.
Wier will be back at the venue April 8 and June 3, but will be forced to make a hasty exit when the show is over at 7 p.m. this Saturday.
“I've booked another gig in Evansville later in the night,” Wier says. “Playing two shows on the same day doesn't happen very often. I've been doing this a long time, though. I know the back roads like the back of my hand. I've got about 30 minutes of wiggle room between shows.”
Wier is knowledgeable of local tourist attractions. As a child, he was a regular visitor to the 983-acre Camp Ondessonk in Ozark.
A native of Fairview Heights, his musical influences came from opposite ends of the spectrum. His dad was a dyed-in-the-wool country fan. As a toddler, he keenly recalls the classic sounds of Gene Autry, the Sons of the Pioneers and Hank Williams. In the 1990s, it evolved into Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings.
Powerful rock 'n' roll mentors came blazing through his teenage years. Self-contained artists like Bob Dylan, Carole King and Neil Young shaped his interests, along with dynamic performers like John Mellencamp, Bob Seger and the late Tom Petty.
“I'm somewhere in the middle of all this stuff I grew up listening to,” Wier said. “It's not country or rock. It's a mess of rock, blues, country and folk. I guess it falls under the broad umbrella of Americana.”
The 35-year-old Wier played in rock bands in St. Louis during his formative years, appearing in regular rotation of Mississippi Nights, Pops, the Way Out Club and The Ground Floor in Belleville.
In 2005, he started making frequent trips to Nashville to learn the craft of songwriting, and moved to Music City full-time in 2007.
Wier released EPs “Jaded Dreamer” in 2009 and “After The Flood” in 2011, inspired by the deadly and sudden Cumberland River flood the previous year. Both projects were recorded and produced by Grammy Award winning engineer Nick Autry. He also released EP “Born On The Mississippi” in 2013.
From this body of work comes crowd favorites “Another Night In Nashville,” “I Like It Old School” and “Can't Rewrite Your Life.”
“Songwriting is what drew me to Nashville. I have two folders, one for rock songs and the other for country songs. I've been lucky enough to get some demo work, but I'm still waiting for one of my songs to hit the charts so I can enjoy a little commercial success,” he said.
In 2015, Wier joined forces with songwriters Alan Crist and Vincent Ostrander to form the popular Americana band The Good Routes. They played festivals throughout the United States, opening for major acts like Blackberry Smoke, Asleep At The Wheel, Candlebox and Shooter Jennings.
The Good Routes disbanded last year and Wier renewed his solo career, going to work with friend/producer Matthew Miller to release “Doses,” the debut single from “New Waters.” He says the plan is to release another EP this summer and a full-length album before the end of the year.
“It took awhile to realize what music I was supposed to be doing," Wier said. "It has to be something organic and rootsy that feels right. The secret is consistency. You have to stay active and have new material available for your fans and followers, keep them engaged. Streaming is the way to go.
“You never know in this industry who is going to be the next Sturgill Simpson or Chris Stapleton. I'm just going to keep playing music for as long as I can. It gets in your blood. Sure, it's a grind, but you just gotta keep going. I know I'm lucky to get to play music for a living.”
Wier is a client of The Press House, a New York based public relations firm with a Nashville branch. The company represents well-known acts like Radney Foster, the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and the Del McCoury Band, but also has an impressive roster of cutting edge acts like Caleb Caudle, Jeff Hyde and Bonnie Montgomery.