Joey Frendo

Song Premiere: Joey Frendo “Wild Pilots”

Listen & Watch Song Premieres

Americana Highways brings you this premiere of Joey Frendo’s song “Wild Pilots” from his forthcoming album Bound For Heartache, due to be released on April 21.  Bound For Heartache was produced by Joey Frendo and Jason Weinheimer; recorded and mixed by Jason Weinheimer at Fellowship Hall Sound in Little Rock.  It was mastered at Foster Mastering by Ryan Foster with album art and design by Carl Carbonel.

“Wild Pilots” is Joey Frendo on vocals, acoustic guitar, harmonica; Paul Griffith on drums; Paddy Ryan on drums and percussion; Jason Weinheimer on bass, rhythm guitar, baritone guitar, slide guitar, Mellotron, and backing vocals; Philippe Bronchtein on pedal steel, piano, and organ; Jesse Aycock on electric guitar, lap steel, pedal steel, and piano; Mallory Eagle on harmony vocals; Fats Kaplan on fiddle; and Greg Spradlin on telecaster.

Joey has one of those achingly gritty voices that sings of regrets, letdowns and the passage of time in a way that helps to gently wash it all away.  The song is arranged with easygoing musical support for lines that hit you square in the gut, like: “when you’re bound for heartache … are we fighting or just grieving?  is it too late to stop the bleeding?”

“Wild Pilots” as a concept first came about when I was fronting my first band back in Michigan, but when I decided to try my hand at writing my own songs, it was one I wanted to try to re-work. I always carry around song title ideas with me, scribbled in a notebook or stashed in the notes on my phones, and I kept “Wild Pilots” with me because I didn’t feel like the first version really landed all the way and I’m glad I did. The version that made it on this record does feels like the fully realized idea that I started all those years back.

I was listening to a lot of Slaid Cleaves and Chris Knight at the time, and I still am. I noticed that a good handful of their ballads were capo’d at the first fret, and I really liked what that brought out of my voice. It felt tender in a way that helped zoom in on this moment, where you’re laying next to your partner, and maybe you’ve been fighting or you’ve been going through a rough stretch, but the character in the song is kind of recalling all the things that brought them to this place. It doesn’t end with any answers really, but I think it’s something a lot of people can relate too, whether or not the relationship ended up working out or not. We’re often faced with these tipping points in life, but realizing you’re at that crossroads in often the hardest/ most vulnerable time in that relationship to date. Where you land is almost irrelevant; the fact that you can see that you can see the chinks in the armor, that’s a small death in-and-of-itself.

I also want to highlight the arrangement on this song, because Philippe Bronchtein (pedal steel, keys) and Jesse Aycock (aux. guitars) really shade the emotion of this song is such a meaningful way with the parts they played on the recording. It really supports the lyrics, and highlights them in the perfect places, while picking their places to shine and continue the narrative instrumental. It’s one of my very favorite things I’ve ever recorded. — Joey Frendo

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