After more than a decade and four albums in, one could worry that an artist has peaked or become repetitive, but those worries can be cast aside for Wade Bowen’s upcoming release. With Wade Bowen, due October 28th, Wade has exceeded expectations and executed an album that could be his best yet.
This new album, undeniably a Wade Bowen record, is filled with story songs that are detailed so vividly you can clearly envision the entire narrative as you listen. Emotions are at times moody, contemplative and sad, but there is an underlying optimism evident throughout. The initial two tracks, along with the final two, highlight that positivity while nicely bookending songs about love (“My California”), regret (“Hungover”) and the road (“Long Enough To Be A Memory”).
His current single, “When I Woke Up Today,” opens the album with a simple message: you have choices in life, so make the most of every day while taking “the good and the bad with a big smile.” The song segues nicely into the folky, upbeat “Sun Shines On A Dreamer,” which continues the theme of taking chances, listening to your heart and embracing life.
The varied dimensions of love and relationships are showcased in songs that many will find highly relatable. “Watch Her Drive,” with its sprawling chorus, extols living in the moment and being satisfied with a relationship where “maybe all we’re meant to be is no more than right now.” In “When It’s Reckless,” the urgency and abandon of the guitars perfectly complement the lyrics in which he rejects the notion of an endless, sweet love, instead preferring a love that’s thrilling and a little rough around the edges.
The bluesy introduction of the lovely, harmonica infused “Sweet Leona” tells the story of a woman so charming and beautiful that he cannot find the words to say every time her “sweet eyes look my way.” While the Spanish stylings and honest lyrics of “Welcome Mat” describe all too well the feeling of heartbreak. “Like a welcome mat sitting on the front porch lady/I’m just waiting around it’s driving me crazy/Stomped on dirty feeling lonely and laid out flat/Like a welcome mat.”
In the introspective “West Texas Rain” he reflects on the passages and complexities of life; finding answers, falling apart and coming out stronger for the struggle. “So close your eyes and hold on/We’re here then we’re gone/It goes just as quick as it came/Just like a West Texas Rain.”
The final two tracks cement the fact that even though a musician’s life may be one with uncertainties, Wade is staying the course. A cover of “Honky Tonk Road,” one of the highlights on the album, features vocal assist from Randy Rogers, Cody Canada and Sean McConnell. The four sing about those trials and tribulations wondering “what we’re out here for,” yet unable to deny its pull. “God help me I love it out here so much.”
The rockadelic closing track, “I’m Gonna Go,” describes a man who may make mistakes and travel an uncertain journey, yet is not afraid to take those unfamiliar roads because he is “A man who’s bleeding hope/Quit giving up long ago/To me there’s always gonna be some way.” It’s an anthem, not just for himself, but for anyone feeling that the journey might be hopeless, encouraging us that there’s “no time to stop believing.”
Embrace this record and enjoy the journey down the deserted highway, coastline or honky tonk road. For with this album, Wade Bowen is definitely in a pretty good place.
For more information visit his official website
Pre-order the album here