Wade Bowen “The Given” CD Review
It’s hard to think of an accomplishment Wade Bowen has not achieved on the Texas music scene. He’s won the awards, sells out his shows, plays all the big festivals, and has recorded a “Live at Billy Bob’s Texas” CD. It’s been a road of steady progress since the beginning. Like with any musician, this requires some luck, but credit Bowen’s work ethic, talent, and the fact that he is a really good guy for most of his career success.
Now, with the release of “The Given”, Bowen has made the next logical step in growing his music and signed with Nashville label BNA. His 2008 album “If We Ever Make It Home” cracked the US Country Top 30, and “Billy Bob’s” peaked at #41, without a lot of national promotion. So it only makes sense that Wade take his Texas music to the country.
I always thought of Wade Bowen as too melodic a singer and too much of a cerebral songwriter to be a country music artist, but the new CD has a sound that’s got just a little bit more country flavor. Compared to Wade’s previous albums, the steel guitar is more prominent throughout “The Given”. There are several songs, when I hear the lyrics and music, I say to myself, “that song could be a mainstream country hit”.”You Ain’t Got Me”, “Say Anything”, “All That’s Left”, and the rock-country tune “Beat Me Down” are all catchy enough to appeal to a national country audience.
But don’t think for a second that Bowen is compromising his roots for the sparkly things of Nashville. I think it’s safe to say Wade’s not going to change who he is. As proof, “Saturday Night” already hit #1 on Texas charts. The latest single, “To Live Is To Fly”, is a song written by Texas songwriter Townes Van Zandt and features another Texas legend, Guy Clark. This song alone sends the message that Wade Bowen clearly appreciates the fan base he has in the Lone Star State.
“The Given” is undeniably a Wade Bowen CD, featuring plenty of Wade’s cerebral lyrics and edgy rock riffs. Bowen writes or co-writes every song but “To Live Is To Fly”, and if you’ve listened to the progress each of his albums have made musically and lyrically over the past decade, this CD should come as no surprise to you whatsoever. Just like the artist himself, “The Given” is high quality, unique, and will make Texas Wade Bowen fans happy.
“Songs About Trucks” is just about as commercial sounding as you’ll hear Wade Bowen. But when you listen closer, it’s anything but commercial. In fact, “Trucks” takes a bit of a jab at the mainstream country music today:
“Down by the lake or down by the river
Mud bank, no thanks
I’m just gonna sit here and miss her
So mister, here’s my 20 bucks
Don’t play no songs about trucks”
The music video is pretty funny. Wade does a great job acting uncomfortable in makeup, although I’m sure that uncomfortable feeling came pretty natural to him in this particular situation. Check it out:
I think it’s safe to raise the bar and expect a new level of success for Wade Bowen with the release of “The Given”. Only time will tell just how much success, but Wade seems to have the personality, work ethic, and talent to do just about anything he sets out to accomplish.