Trumpet player Wesley Watkins.
Trumpet player Wesley Watkins.
Aimee Giese

Meet the Night Sweats: Trumpet Player Wesley Watkins

Nathaniel Rateliff and the Night Sweats released their self-titled debut album last Friday on the legendary Stax Records. This week's Westword cover story details Rateliff's long history in the Denver music scene. But every member of the band has been a notable contributor to the city's creative community. Over the next several days, we'll introduce you to them. 

Past Denver Bands: Rowdy Shadehouse, Air Dubai, Petals of Spain

Current Denver Bands: The Other Black, M.Florea, Midget Wizard, Kid Astronaut, Bonnie and the Beard, Izcalli

Instrument in the Night Sweats: Trumpet

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"It's just weird, you know? Being on TV — it was such an opposite thing for me, man. I've been homeless so many times. When people first started knowing me in town, it was because I was playing trumpet on the 16th Street Mall." Wesley Watkins is lamenting on the moment everyone has been asking him about lately: performing on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon backing Nathaniel Rateliff. He's getting phone calls and Facebook messages from all sorts of people who have come out of the woodwork following Watkins's mild glimpse of fame outside of his home town. But Watkins — who plays trumpet, tuba, keyboards, percussion and sings — is beyond humble, almost pensive about it all. Not to say the Night Sweats are a side gig for the musician, by any means, but he's been hard at work for most of his young life, writing, performing and recording his music and that of others. He's a session player and a right-hand man, but first and foremost, he's a bandleader. He created the big family-style funk band the Other Black a few years ago as a way to put all of the intricate compositions floating around in his head into a concrete form. He weaves his words and multi-instrumental skills through the band's — which has been known to cram upwards of two dozen members on Denver stages big and small — out-of-this-world soul. Watkins is doing pretty well for himself these days, but no matter how far his music takes him, chances are you can still catch the trumpeting wonder playing on the street somewhere in Denver, because he can't — and won't — stop. 

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