Jon Wolfe Honors Late Stage Manager Conrad Soriano in New Song + Video [Exclusive Premiere]
On the day Jon Wolfe lost his best friend, he spent the night looking for the song that he would forever sing in his honor.
“I really didn't want to face it,” explains the Texas country star in a revealing interview about the death of his dear friend, Conrad Soriano. "I was so angry, to be honest. That night I poured up a glass of whiskey and just sat there listening to pitch songs for my new project. I came across this song … and I just started crying.”
The song was called “Why Can’t You.”
“I played the song probably 50 times over and over again,” he remembers of the touching song. “It just connected with me, and something told me it was Conrad's song.”
Soriano was Wolfe’s best friend and stage manager, his guardian angel and a rare soul. He was also one of the millions that the world has lost as a result of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
“Conrad and I started working together in early 2018, and I met him through the country music scene here in Texas,” Wolfe recalls of the man who lost his battle with COVID-19 last July. “To ask what kind of guy he was ... well, that could be a long answer. In the city of San Antonio, in his circle, people used to call him ‘the Mayor.’ He was bigger than life. Simply put, he just loved life, loved people, and loved country music. [He] lived for doing things for other people.”
Mere minutes before performing at a small, socially distanced show last year, Wolfe received the devastating news that his dear friend had been diagnosed with COVID-19.
“We were excited to be able to play a show and suddenly that excitement turned into concern,” remembers Wolfe. “It was about three weeks later that we were getting the feeling he wasn't going to make it. Conrad had some pre-existing conditions that made it tough on him, but we never thought it would end that way.”
Once Wolfe discovered “Why Can’t You” on the night of Soriano's death, the race was on to find out more about the song that hit his heart so profoundly. Soon, he and his team would learn that Jeff Bates and Matt Willis had written the touching song. Luckily, the two songwriters were open to allowing Wolfe to make "some Conrad customizations on the second verse."
“Very simply, the message of this song is just wishful thinking that maybe ol' Conrad would just magically show up at the bus call one day, ready to hit the road,” Wolfe says quietly of the song, which ended up being retitled “Why Can’t You (Conrad’s Song).”
It’s also a song that certainly hits a bit different now, considering Wolfe is now himself battling the dreaded disease.
“All in all, [I’m] feelin' pretty good,” concludes Wolfe, who is currently gearing up to release his album Dos Corazones in September. “But it's a pretty tough virus — It's going to take me a while to fully get my strength back. It's definitely something that everyone should take seriously to protect themselves and their family.”
Wolfe will be okay. But so many others will not.
“This song comes from a real place of hurt, loss and grieving,” Wolfe says. “Sadly, there's a lot of that going on nowadays. I hope this song can comfort people out there that have lost someone close to them, whether from COVID or something else. I hope it can help them heal, and I hope that, someday, when those tough times have gotten a little easier, I hope this song can be a reminder of how far they've come.”