Wes Little

You have heard Wes Little’s drumming many times. Either that, or you’ve been living in a cave in Nepal for way too long! Currently the regular drummer for Joe Nichols, Little has played with the likes of Stevie Wonder, Sting, Beyonce, Alicia Keys, Steven Tyler, Joe Perry, Mariah Cary, Shakira, Jamie Foxx, Jermaine Jackson (stop for breath), The Pointer Sisters, John Legend, Melissa Etheridge, Jo Dee Messina, Public Enemy… oh, heck, we give up, the list is endless! And he’s not the only fine musician in his family; last year, he made a record with wife Britt Savage and her band Twang Deluxe.

Recently, Nichols had a Billboard Country #1 hit song, “Gimme That Girl,” with Little on drums. Little was generous enough to give us an audio clip of the song, which Little captured with a PreSonus FireBox from the group’s appearance on Jay Leno’s show, and we’ve posted it for your listening pleasure.

The bottom line is, Little likes to play, and great musicians, producers, and myriad fans like to hear him do it. That’s probably because he is a multitalented musician. In addition to being a highly skilled drummer, he’s a songwriter and producer with a Master’s degree in jazz performance from the Manhattan School of Music. Sure, he can play fancy fills and drum solos if that’s what’s called for. Chops are a given at his level. But he’d rather groove and contribute tasteful musicianship to the song than show off—and that mindset is key to major success, especially in a rhythm section. “Creativity, expression, and the invocation of emotion and thought are the most important parts of creating art to me,” says Little, “and I try each day to do this in my journey of music.”

Beyond his many tours and band projects, Little has worked on Broadway shows, made whip-crack sounds for John Lithgow in Dirty Rotten Scoundrels, and played what he thinks was “quite possibly the largest setup in the world of drums and percussion” in the show BKLYN. He acted the part of a drummer that couldn't speak in the show Once Around the Sun, and he was the drummer in the 15-piece big band on Rat Pack, Live at the Sands.

Like we said, you’ve heard his drumming. So have Presidents Barack Obama, Bill Clinton, and Jimmy Carter, for whom Little has performed.

At PreSonus, we’re big fans of Wes’s music, and fortunately, he’s also a fan of our gear. “I really like the forethought and smart design of PreSonus products,” he begins. “I expect pro gear to sound great, and PreSonus obviously does. But the flexibility of the products and the nice features that accompany the whole line are really exceptional.” He has long used the Central Station, DigiMax 96k, Eureka, FaderPort, FireBox, MP20, COMP16, and HP4, and in 2009, he added a FireStudio Mobile and a FireStudio 26x26. “I’m seeing the StudioLive mixer in my future, as well,” he predicts.

Little mostly uses his PreSonus gear in the studio. “Being a drummer, I need to have an array of mic preamps and outboard gear, and PreSonus is great for that,” he explains. “The DigiMax 96k and FireStudio can give anyone a bank of mic preamps with analog and digital connectivity in a very smart, great-sounding, and mobile package. Having both digital and analog outputs on the DigiMax 96 and the Eureka have been really useful when I’m stemming off to go to a control room console.”

What does a high-end studio cat do with his FireBox and FireStudio Mobile? “The FireBox and the FireStudio Mobile are really useful when using loops in the studio,” Little explains. “I can go into any major studio, and the engineer can send me MIDI beat clock, and I can give them multiple outputs of loops —all using a half rack unit.” Besides, he adds, “compact pieces of gear like the FireBox, FireStudio Mobile, COMP16, and HP4 are great for recording things on the go when space in the road case is at a premium.”

Like many pros, Little is a huge advocate of the Central Station. “The Central Station is one of the best pieces of gear for monitor control on the market, period,” he insists. “It’s smartly designed, insanely flexible, and it sounds great. Never mind the great price tag. Having the S/PDIF inputs is great for all the digital stuff, and having two sets of monitors with a separate control for the sub can’t be beat!”

Wes Little could use any control surface he wants, so why the FaderPort? “The FaderPort gives me all the functionality of any HUI type of fader system but at a fraction of the price and at a fraction of the footprint on the desktop,” he replies.

Ultimately, Little sees PreSonus as a rising company. “The smart design and robust sound of PreSonus audio gear makes it the gear of choice for both project studios and commercial studios,” he declares. “And with the advent of gear like the Central Station, the ADL 600, and the StudioLive mixers, PreSonus has really emerged as a major competitor in the Class A pro-audio world. These are products that I would choose to use if I was given a free shopping spree and could get anything I wanted at a big dealer. Three thumbs up!”

Sound Samples

  • Wes Little - Gimme That Girl