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Wade Bowen – ‘Somewhere Between the Secret and the Truth’ review

Its the full five stars for this wonderful, authentic and earthy album.

Wade Bowen
Credit: David McClister

Wade Bowen enters his second decade of making music, and first foray into producing, with his latest album, ‘Somewhere Between The Secret And The Truth’, released with Thirty Tigers. 

And I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to discover the Texan-born singer-songwriter (sorry, Wade!), despite many nudges from people whose music judgement I absolutely trust. Perhaps one of the best reasons for an artist to release new music is to reach a wider, as well as loyal, audience.   

In amongst these outstanding twelve tracks on Bowen’s first new solo music in four years are 90s Country good times, honky tonk mischief (on the liner notes, Heather Morgan and Eric Paslay are both credited alongside Bowen for drunken bar room antics; class) steel-guitar sadness and a timely waltz away from potential domestic trouble on the outstanding title track. 

The album opens with two heartbreak ballads, ‘Everything Has Your Memory’ and ‘Burnin’ Both Ends Of The Bar’ before kicking the heartbreak up a couple of gears with ‘Honky Tonk Roll’: heartache AND alcohol.  What could go wrong? 

Steadfast traditional country sounds and drift-away-to lyrics in the first fifteen minutes; I’m in.   

A mid-tempo ‘The Secret To This Town’, is one of the strongest tracks, observing small town life with a big-hearted lens and a nod to Springsteen in the “glory days” lyric and the sentiment resonates too. 

‘If You Don’t Miss Me’ twists the melodramatic farewell; either party could “drive that Chevy like it’s something you stole”.  No need to linger if the love has gone.  

A feeing of sensory contentment breathes into ‘A Beautiful World’, which features Lori McKenna, reminding us of the joy to be found in the ordinary, “the crackling of an old vinyl record…a handwritten letter…rain falling through sunshine…If we could all get together just once in a while/find the good even in the bad”.  

But it’s track 11 that has me reaching for that repeat button, another McKenna co-write, this time featuring the vocals of Vince Gill, on ‘A Guitar, A Singer And A Song’. Spot on opening lyrics for any fans of music with, “a guitar won’t change the world/But there’s nights that I feel like it has”.  Absopickinglutely.  

I barely made it to the final track, but with the conundrum in ‘Somewhere Between The Secret And The Truth’, I was so glad I did.  

Listening to the stories within the lyrics, it’s no surprise to learn that Bowen is a Springsteen fan, nor that Lori McKenna, Eric Paslay, Randy Montana and Heather Morgan are co-writes on more than one song.  

And now I have Bowen’s twenty year back catalogue to delve into. 

Read more about the album, it’s inspirations and Wade’s interrupted UK visits in our interview.  

Track list: 1. Everything Has Your Memory 2. Burnin’ Both Ends of the Bar 3. Honky Tonk Roll  4. The Secret To This Town 5. If You Don’t Miss Me 6. A Beautiful World (Featuring Lori McKenna) 7. She’s Driving Me Crazy 8. Knowing Me Like I Do 9.  It’s Gonna Hurt 10. Say Goodbye  11. A Guitar, A Singer and A Song (Featuring Vince Gill) 12. Somewhere Between The Secret and The Truth Record Label: Bowen Sounds Release Date: August 12th Buy ‘Somewhere Between the Secret and the Truth’ now

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