Aaron Skiles – Wreckage From The Fire (Self-Released)
The Oakland, CA-based indie rock band Bourbon Therapy may not have made it past the global pandemic that shut down bands in every corner of the world, but frontman Aaron Skiles wasted no time working on his next project. Skiles, along with Drive-By Truckers bassist Matt Patton, had started cowriting an album’s worth of songs prior to the pandemic so they used the downtime once it hit to record what would become Skiles second solo effort, Wreckage From The Fire. The result is at times satisfyingly frenetic (“Come With Me”) and other times calmly measured (“Before You Go”) for an impressive second act.
Along with Skiles and Patton, the record is filled out with a slew of talented musicians including Taylor Hollingsworth (Conor Oberst, Dead Fingers) on guitar, Patton’s Drive-By Truckers bandmate Jay Gonzalez on piano, A.J. Haynes (Seratones) on backing vocals and Bronson Tew on drums. The band is a supergroup of stellar under-the-radar musicians.
While it wasn’t unusual for Bourbon Therapy to write long songs mixed with strings and layered harmonies, in contrast, the longest track on Wreckage From The Fire comes in at just over four-and-a-half-minutes long with most sticking to the three-minute mark or less. There are also more rock and punk influences on the songs here, while still keeping a foot in the Americana/Alt Country camp.
“Most of the songs were written before recording right as the pandemic started,” Skiles said recently. “Although “Quarandream” was literally written right before I jumped on the plane. I was packing for the flight and decided to plug in my guitar one more time. I suddenly came up with this simple instrumental jam and I realized it fit perfectly in front of “Come With Me.” Just like that, I had songs #1 and #2 for the album decided.”
The music from Wreckage From The Fire may be a little rawer than Skiles’ previous band but the sound is familiar enough to hold onto the old fans and different enough to open Skiles up to a slew of new ones. While Bourbon Therapy will be missed this record is a fantastic second act.