Wyatt Easterling – From Where I Stand
Easterling is an older troubadour, songwriter & producer — but his warm vocal exudes experience & skillful singing & he can kick. While not as deep-voiced as Roger Whittaker, Wyatt approaches that shading with confidence especially in “From Where I Stand.” This is expertly written & the musicians provide exceptional backing.
Subject-wise Wyatt touches on the basics – love, loss, having to move on, freedom of speech & matters that listeners can relate to. There’s little imaginative wordplay & controversy but “I Know Who You Are,” has the songwriting finesse of the serious late Roger Miller (“River In the Rain”). This is where Wyatt resides in musical hothouses that result in musical blooms.
Each tune’s produced by a different individual with the majority done by Wyatt himself. But the Executive Producer Thomas Anderson Bookwalter (electric guitars/piano/clavinet/congas/acoustic rhythm/BGV/string arrangements/baritone guitar) created an intrinsic CD of 10-cuts at 44-minutes in From Where I Stand (Drops July 29–Phoenix Rising Recordings). A very nice stitched lyric insert accompanies the CD with all credits.
The songs are a cross-section of conversant narratives, a trademark mélange of well-developed songs pinned down like colorful-winged butterflies to a velvet display board. “Love Says It Best,” has a thoroughly alive backup (Jess Klein, Abigail Dowd & Kara Grainger) that strengthens the chorus with a nice contrast to Wyatt’s deep vocal.
While their vocals aren’t the same as Wyatt Easterling (acoustic guitar/classical guitar), the song qualities are — Joe Henry, John Hiatt, Buddy Miller & Clive Gregson. Stylistically, Wyatt looks like the late Procol Harum vocalist Gary Brooker who sings (“So Have I”) with a strong, authoritative, spookily reminiscent hint of Cat (Yusuf Islam) Stevens.
On the nearly whispered-sung “That’s How She Moves Through This World,” there’s a hue of Jon Mark of The Mark-Almond Band. On “Where This River Goes,” Wyatt’s voice steers into a near-James Taylor balladry expression. Done well with banjo (Joe Newberry) & cello (David Henry). Lovely.
“Bigger Than Dallas,” has a deep baritone guitar that bellows through this wonderfully retro piece with a classical guitar that frames the bass-heavy foundation & backup vocals. Thoroughly alive. Joining Wyatt in separate studios are – Mike Rosado (drums), Jimmy Carter (bass), Doug Carter (B3), Scotty Saunders (steel guitar), Eliot Wadopian (upright bass), Lisa Brokop (BGVs), Danny Gotham (mandolin), Paul Scholten (drums), Chris Rosser (piano), Rivers Guerguerian (Djembe/snare/percussion), Allie Lutz (flute), David Henry (strings – cello, viola & violin) & Paul Jefferson (BGV).
Considering that much was recorded & accomplished at different studios/locations the songs sound tight, concise & appeasing. My applause to all these inspiring musicians. The inside spread image with Wyatt’s black hat – that’s a great CD cover too. Just saying.
Wyatt Easterling would be a revered addition to your music library. One of the year’s best.
Color portrait courtesy of Broken Jukebox Media. CD @ https://www.wyatteasterling.com/
Video Premiere – https://americanahighways.org/2022/06/20/video-premiere-wyatt-easterling-from-where-i-stand/