Wilder Woods – FEVER / SKY
The opening song from this sophomore LP from Nashville-based Bear Rinehart of Wilder Woods (the first names of his 2 older sons) gets off to a sure-footed soulful start. Though packed solidly with 60s ingredients the sincere approach decorates these songs with percolating R&B with dashes of rock to embellish the drive & circuitry.
While “Patience,” leans a little heavily on a musical rap the chorus is infectious while the verses are weighted down by rhyme. However, lines like “how many times must I test your love…” justify the style. Wilder Woods’ voice is powerful, expressive, raw & sumptuous. Nothing is diluted. So, there’s a saving grace for this cut. The entire CD has nothing but sweet fruit on low branches.
“Be Yourself,” is a soulful easy-listening ballad that finds voice in a Marvin Gaye groove & doesn’t imitate – it’s influenced by the suave Gaye soft tones & Wilder Woods’ well-charged melody. This artist is no poseur. The warmth in his voice is the entire showcase.
There are 11 songs on FEVER / SKY (Drops March 24–Dualtone Music Group) & arranged with sinewy strength. A rootsier Joe Cocker-flavored tune is the rural soulfully woven gospel-tinged “Heartland,” with its assertive backup vocals & Steve Cropper-type lead guitar. A well-cultivated performance. Delicately precise. With its purism just under the surface of being dramatic — without being so. This will be on repeat later in the day.
A nice quote from the artist states – “This isn’t the kind of journey where I’m worried about the places I’m headed or the places I’ve left; it’s a journey where I’m just happy to be in the car, driving forward.” What an excellent basis for a CD of riveting songs. That statement alone is inspiring & has many miles of creativity under its wheels. It’s also somewhat of a Jack Kerouac-type philosophy since that’s exactly what Jack did & was motivated to write his classic “On the Road.”
Another impressive ballad “Wish It Was Mine,” has spirit. A superb tune. Wilder Woods’ vocals & lyrics were performed with expertise. The energy level is always potent as displayed in “Go Ahead” & then the subtle “Make Your Own Mistakes.” Perfect voice for the perfect lyrics of lesson with finger-picked guitar. Nice. Excellent songwriting.
There’s much to enjoy from these poignant neo-soul pieces produced by Cason Cooley. Joined by guitarist Tyler Burkum, Aaron Sterling (drums), Tony Lucido (bass) & My Morning Jacket’s Carl Broemel (guitar).
Highlights – “Maestro (Tears Don’t Lie),” “Be Yourself,” “Heartland,” “Wish It Was Mine,” “Get It Back,” “Be The Man,” “Go Ahead” “Patience,” & “Make Your Own Mistakes.”
The CD artwork isn’t final art at this writing. Color portrait courtesy of Darius Fitzgerald. CD @ Amazon & https://wilderwoods.merchmadeeasy.com/products/fever-sky-digital-album
Enjoy our previous coverage here: REVIEW: Wilder Woods’ Self-Titled Album is Honest, Raw Love Letter