Nate Fredrick and the Wholesome Boys “Nate Fredrick and the Wholesome Boys”

Independent, 2023

Rocking introspection.

According to the band’s website this debut EP represents a “new chapter” for Nate Fredrick. His new band the Wholesome Boys add robust layers of rock to complement his equally strong vocal range. The result is a contemporary version of classic southern rock that would have had these boys signed up to the famed Capricorn label had they been around fifty years ago. Six songs that begin with a distinct country flavour and end in a fiery electric rock jam augur well for Frederick’s musical biography. Despite an acclaimed 2021 debut solo album, ‘Different Shade of Blue’ his previous chapter had been sadly overshadowed by his struggles with mental health and substance abuse.

But full credit to the man, he stuck in and got through his problems. While working in a Nashville sports bar he found three kindred spirits also on the staff who became the Wholesome Boys. This is not a backing band to get Frederick back up on his feet but a fully collaborative unit. As he says, “It’s not about any one of us individually; it’s about the whole”. Hence the name and the eponymous EP.

Opener ‘Daydream’ feels like Fredrick is picking up where he left off two years ago. There is a confident country sound but this time accompanied by flourishes of electric guitar from Frank Patrick James around the tight rhythm section of bassist Andrew Foreman and Dylan Miller on drums and percussion. They take this loose vibe up a notch with ‘Low on Sugar’. If lyrically not overstretching the imagination, musically there is a jaunty confidence. Regret is a theme for Fredrick which given his troubles is not surprising. ‘Paint the Town’ looks back with regret to a time when his only fame was to have, “painted my name all over town”. A step further into introspection comes with ‘Shortcut to Waco’, where he draws imagery from the road to relationships, “ease on over to the shoulder, make some highway”. ‘State I’m In’, is a bluesy soulful muse that paves the way for the EP’s close, the blistering southern rock of ‘Next Time Around’. The electric guitar shred at the end suggests these boys have dipped into some early Allman Brothers at some point.

There is definitely a live feel to this EP, perhaps unsurprising given the band’s show schedule. While that would be a treat, let’s hope Nate Fredrick and the Wholesome Boys find their way back into the studio for a full-length album.

7/10
7/10

About Lyndon Bolton 140 Articles
Writing about americana, country, blues, folk and all stops in between
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