Shadwick Wilde “Forever Home”

SofaBurns Records, 2023

Warm and empathic record that assures the listener even in the worst of times there’s hope to be found.

Shadwick Wilde is based in Louisville, but his latest album was produced by the well-known Nashville drummer Ken Coomer who’s worked, with amongst others, Billy Bragg, Margo Price, Al Green and Wilco. Wilde spent his youth playing guitar in hardcore punk bands, such as Iron Cross in Washington DC, but it wasn’t until he settled down in Louisville that he started writing his own songs, which he released via the band Quiet Hollers who gained a cult following.

For Wilde working with Coomer was a practice in surrender. Wilde’s previous approach to recording erred towards that of a perfectionist. Coomer helped Wilde to let go and the songs unravel on their own. This is a record that muses on depression whilst urging the listener to find contentment in the present. It’s also an album that sonically builds song by song, commencing with the melodic finger-picking guitar and reassurance of ‘Easy Rider‘ to finishing with a stylophone solo. ‘Gardner’s Blues‘ is another acoustic-based track evoking a pleasant summer spent weeding in the garden.

Floating Away‘ is a beautiful song with drums and piano coming into the mix, as Wilde sings about life and death; ‘I hope that we end up in the same sea but it’s not up to me‘. ‘Two Girls With Hazel Eyes‘ is a short catchy song, which features upbeat fiddles and acoustic guitars. It’s followed by ‘Better Version Of You‘ by which time we’re treated to some great trumpet and a shuffling, bossa nova influenced rhythm with Wilde demonstrating his full vocal range and his reassurance to a loved one that he hopes ‘You know you’re beautiful, That’s why I tell you all the time‘.

Please Love Me (I’m Drowning)‘ harks back to a 1950’s slightly doo-wop influenced sound before the acoustic ‘Lonesome Road‘ takes us back to the present and the insecurities of being alone. The string arrangement perfectly complements Wilde’s acoustic guitar playing. ‘Dark Hours‘ is probably the song that sums up the album’s key message that although ‘There will be dark hours in our lives, Don’t be afraid‘.

Fittingly the album ends with ‘Forever Home‘ replete with its stylophone solo. In these gloomy times Wilde has produced a warm and beautiful record from which everybody can take some hope.


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