Shadwick Wilde – Forever Home
This 10-song collection is a pleasant stroll down a sunny street with a warm breeze in your hair, children playing in the park & ice cream trucks on the corner. There’s no other way to describe the feeling you get listening to these songs from a young man who grew up in an environment as diverse as San Francisco, Havana & Amsterdam – the stuff novels are written about.
Shadwick Wilde (vocals/guitars/piano/mellotron/stylophone) lays out little story songs that have their innocent, reality, a pinch of life’s perfection fantasy, no bills, no medical issues & no controversies. It’s everything you would hope could be in a perfect world. And “Easy Rider,” is that optimistic melody, vocal & atmosphere with no embellishments. The set isn’t groove-oriented, or vibe driven. Just excellent songwriting.
Wilde sings about being down all summer on his knees as a gardener & while some may say so what? The tune “Gardener’s Blues,” is so relaxing a listen you’d need a hammock to listen effectively. Wilde proves a singer-songwriter doesn’t have to be confrontational to be interesting, radical, or intense. These songs are morsels that go together as perfectly & tasty as bread & butter, chocolate & a Kaiser roll, the sun shining even though it’s raining & a kiss on the back of the neck when it’s least expected.
There is little that is melancholy though “Dark Hours” is superb. Wilde does rock out on “Floating Away,” & maintains a catchy guitar riff throughout. Produced by Ken Coomer (drums/percussion) the 40-minute Forever Home (Drops Sept 22–Sofaburn) is a fine piece of musical artwork from a musician who knows how to pull heartstrings with just gentle tugs.
Intensity comes with a slightly echoed vocal in “Without You,” which doesn’t lend the song much effect as it does mood & a rousing emotive melody. “I don’t want to leave this place without you…” & “Everybody leaves this world alone.” Such powerful thoughts in simple lines with a minimum of drama.
Shadwick doesn’t look like a wise man, but his songs are filled with expressive lyrics & the manner in which Wilde approaches his material he’s out there alone – few singers are doing this with any purity because many think of commerciality & mainstream attraction before they examine the song’s worth. In a perfect world, many of these songs would become standards. Hard to believe he cut his teeth in punk & hardcore bands in his youth. It makes these songs mean even more.
Highlights – “Easy Rider,” “Gardener’s Blues,” “Floating Away,” “Without You,” “Two Girls With Hazel Eyes,” “Lonesome Road” & “Dark Hours.”
Musicians – Ted Pecchio (bass), Diederik van Wassenaer (strings), Scotty Huff (trumpet), Sam Wilson (electric & pedal steel guitar), Ron Gomez (Bajo sexto/tres/guiro/Afuche) & the Dark Hours Choir (Emma Wilde, Sky Coomer, Isaac Tift & Evan Miller Rager).
Color image courtesy of Wes Proffitt. CD @ Bandcamp & https://www.sofaburn.com/product-page/shadwick-wilde-forever-home & https://www.shadwickwilde.com/