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Wade Bowen - Flyin'

There is no artist more consistent than Wade Bowen.  Trends come and go.  Peers fall away and younger ones take their place.  Wade Bowen remains steadfast.  The sun may shine on dreamers and he may be flying, but his pace never wavers.  He has climbed the mountaintops of major label and national radio airplay and never changed his sound or chased anything he didn’t believe in.  He’s the de facto leader of the entire Texas scene.  He’s the glue that binds up and comers with legends.  Uncle Wade to some.  WB to others.  Paul at times. Wade Bowen just gets it done.  There’s a reason his quarter century plus career is stronger than ever this far down the road.

The songs.

With his latest record, Flyin’, Bowen steps behind the producer’s console and injects his new group of songs with as much Tom Petty as George Strait.  Guy Clark and Jack Ingram are in there too.  But, it’s always Wade Bowen. His voice has gotten stronger.  His band tighter. His humility has grown to recognize a good song is still a good song even if he already has one with a similar title or didn’t write it. He knows he’s in the sweet spot of creativity right now and doesn’t need a crowded room of voices to tweak the sound he hears in his head.  He wrote or picked these songs.  And he guided them to the streaming platform nearest you with a confident wisdom.

“Rainin’ On Me” is a 90’s country style that evokes the Glen Frey lead vocal era Eagles. Harmonies, melodies and imagery.  Over the course of these past 25+ years, Bowen has never written and released a straight up Texas jam.  Despite being in the A list of the scene for two decades, Bowen did it without pandering and name checking in a song.  He still hasn’t, but what he has done with “Nothing but Texas” is create a tribute to his native land that has a groove so thick it would make Ray Wylie Hubbard’s dead thumb come alive.  He turns back to that love of Texas with “Fright Night” featuring a phantom radio call from Dallas Cowboys legend Troy Aikman.  Friday Night Lights/Explosions in the Sky tv series guitars strain throughout the song, but the message is straight from small town Texas. 

Bowen knows how to get country on you.  “The Request” is the type of stone cold honky-tonk tear jerker that would be at home on a Hold My Beer, Watch This record. “Two Hurts, One Stoned” is the type of sad country song they don’t play on the radio anymore. 

“Hiding Behind This Microphone” might be the most vulnerable Wade Bowen has ever been on record.  It’s a glimpse into the psyche of a music industry survivor who is thriving due to his dogged determination and talent.  Even on the nights when he’s not feeling it, he feels it enough to be better than just about anyone else.

When artists have been at it as long as Bowen, they have a tendency to proclaim each newest release as “the best thing we’ve ever done!”  It’s part marketing and part wishful thinking.  In the case of Flyin’, it’s simply true.  From top to bottom, this is the stoutest collection of songs in a career of them. 


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