Singer-songwriter Wade Bowen is one of the most respected and beloved artists on the Texas music scene and beyond. With six solo studio albums and numerous hits on the Texas charts, Bowen headed to the UK for the first time to begin a nine-date run on November 10th. Taking some time to chat after the first night of the tour, Bowen spoke about his experience so far, what's ahead and more.
You’re over in the UK playing a run of shows for the very first time. Was heading over there something you had been thinking about for a while?
I’ve always wanted to do it. Many of my artist friends who have played the UK have gone on and on about playing there, how much fun it is, and how amazing the crowds are, so I wanted to experience it for myself. Plus, I’ve been in this mode lately - from the albums I've released to touring and everything else – where I’m trying to do things I haven’t done before and just have fun with my career. It’s been a blast so far and I’m excited to be over here.
Your friend Willy Braun [Reckless Kelly] is along for the tour. Did the two of you plan it together and how have you been structuring the show?
I had this whole thing booked, just me, but after thinking about it I realized that I really didn’t want to go over myself, so I asked Willy…and I’m so glad that he was able to come and be a part of it.
The way we’re doing the show is an acoustic song swap, which is huge in Texas, but not very common in the UK. It’s hard to explain to people what we’re doing and we wondered if we were going to be able to pull it off, but we had our first show last night and I think they had a blast with it, especially the back and forth banter.
From the looks of your Instagram post, it looks like it went incredibly well.
We were stunned at the turnout, which was just amazing. I think that when you’re in a new place, you have low expectations because you don’t really know what to expect. If we would have had fifteen to twenty people there, we would have been excited, but instead, we had a packed house with people going crazy - which was overwhelming and awesome. They listened when they needed to listen, yelled when they needed to yell and overall, were just great. It’s always fun to play places that you don’t visit regularly because you know people aren’t going to take it for granted…and last night they didn’t. We got an encore and played for about two hours and forty-five minutes.
You know, we’ve always lived off word of mouth, so it’s great to be this far away from home and see that word spread this far about what we love to do. Now, I’m not going to pretend that the rest of the shows are going to be as good as they were last night (laughing), but you never know.
That’s fantastic! I’ve had the opportunity to speak to a few artists from Texas who have toured the UK and they’ve echoed that the audience is incredibly appreciative, respectful, and attentive, particularly to lyrics.
They really are. And that’s what these acoustic shows are about to me. It’s not about the party like it is when we play with the band. Of course, you want to bring entertainment to people, but this is a different form of entertainment. Sometimes artists and fans forget that these songs were written in a room with just a guitar and a buddy - and these shows are about getting back to the basics of that, telling stories and having really cool interactions with the people in the audience.
Did you find that the people that came out knew the music, were new to you or were maybe a combination of both?
It was a pretty diverse group with a handful of people from Texas, others who had heard but never seen us, and some who had never heard us and were brought by friends. We signed for a while after and it was interesting to hear the stories of why people, including a Dad and a son who flew from Spain just to see the show, were there.
There are nine shows in as many days, so is there time to sightsee or is it play the show and onto the next one?
So far, we’ve been pretty busy – we barely made it to the train today - and haven’t had a whole lot of time to sightsee, but I hope to make some time for that because I love to be a tourist in a new place. Whether we’re running around ragged or getting the chance to sightsee, it’s all new and fun for me. Right now, our downtime is used trying to find a local pub to drink a beer (laughing).
Well, knowing you have a fondness for Tito's did you pack some in your suitcase or are you finding alternative beverages to drink?
(Laughing) Well, last night we were brought wine, vodka and beer on stage so we had a plethora of stuff to choose from. I’m not sure what kind of vodka I was drinking, but I’m not that picky when it comes to my drinks. I’ve actually spent the last few days trying a bunch of different beers and living a little. When in Rome, as they say.
Switching gears a bit, this year you released 'Then Sings My Soul' as well as 'Watch This' with Randy Rogers, but your last full length was in 2014. Is there new music on tap for 2017?
Right when I get back I’m going into the studio to make a new record with my longtime friend Keith Gattis who is like the perfect trifecta of a tremendous guitar player, producer, and songwriter. In 2015, I kind of got away from songwriting; I just wasn't inspired, but I feel like this year has been the best songwriting year I’ve ever had and I hope the record shows that. I'm really excited about the stuff we're digging up and am looking forward to getting started.
Then at the end of January, I’m going back in the studio with Randy to make Hold My Beer Volume 2. I’ve got an incredibly busy 2017 and am very excited about it.
And I’m sure the fans are as well.
Since this year is wrapping up and everyone is gathering their “best of” lists, is there an album that’s been your favorite of 2016?
I’ve been listening to a lot of old stuff so I’m not real hip to the new stuff……but, the album I’ve been loving lately is Brent Cobb’s [Shine On Rainy Day]. It’s cool and different.
Bowen’s UK dates continue until November 18th with stops in York, Leeds, Manchester, Liverpool & Glasgow.
For more information visit his official website
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Purchase his music here