Wade Bowen delivered us some joy over the Labor Day weekend by dropping a new EP he’d secretly been working on during the lock downs.
At first, I didn’t know what to make of the track list for The Waiting. It was kind of like peeking into a bag of Halloween candy and seeing familiar favorites (shout out Three Musketeers) mixed in with a few surprises.
Even Bowen admits, “This EP is all over the place. The six songs don’t really fit together, which I like… and I did it on purpose. It’s almost like an encore on stage.”
Here’s the rundown for The Waiting:
Who I Am
Red Headed Woman
Mystery of a Woman
I Wish It Would Rain Down
The first fours tracks on the record are all Wade Bowen classics. Normally we fall in love with the original studio recordings, only to have them etched into our soul with memories from live shows. It’s all backwards here, these tunes captured our hearts a decade ago and only now we get to hear the full production treatment. One could argue that it’s risky move for Bowen, akin to making a sequel to a blockbuster movie. Trick up a song too much and you have a mutiny on your hands. Wisely, Wade sticks to the “less is more” mantra, swapping out the raw, gritty energy present on past live recordings with the polish of a radio hit.
“Fairest Lady”, the only true new song on the record, is romance draped in chivalry and fairy tale imagery. But even that song has waited ten years to see the light, having been written by Wade Bowen and Brent Cobb back in 2010.
The record’s crescendo comes with Bowen’s intimate and ethereal cover of “I Wish It Would Rain Down.” The Nate Coon collaboration trades in the Clapton blues riffs, thick snare backbeats, and gospel choir for a more subdued, ambient treatment. Bowen’s reverb soaked vocals are put front and center and its here we have to acknowledge the real unifying thread to this record is the power of Wade Bowen’s voice. Much has been chronicled about the medical and family chaos that surrounded the release of Solid Ground and it’s only natural to question the what sort of fallout comes along with vocal chord surgery. Wade Bowen puts those question’s to bed, belting out and flat out owning this challenging Phil Collins hit.
The only true theme to “The Waiting” is in fact, the waiting. While we’ve all been waiting for some semblance of normalcy to return, these song were waiting for the right time to shine once again. Wade Bowen’s latest project is more than just a Corona penalty kill, it’s an affirmation that he’s still here, stronger than ever and that there are good things to come.