Local Album Showcases
Roger Alan Wade : Southbound Train
Roger Alan Wade
Roger Alan Wade is an artist whom I have kept an eye on for several years now ever since he released his album “Stoned Traveler” several years ago while I was living in Texas. I worked through his back catalogue of great, mostly lighthearted, songwriting albums and by the time I was done soaking that up he had released another record called “Deguello Motel”. “Deguello” was a lot more serious in tone and seemed to lean more toward Roger’s introspective side. His new album has followed that pattern and continued to swing even more over to the slow and purposeful end of the spectrum.
Southbound Train is by far the best sounding and most well written of any of Mr. Wade’s collections. Now, I already loved his lyricism and content choices but this new album is just a more complex and deeply flavored piece of art. The production values, which always sounded charmingly “hand made” before, are now very slick and minimalist. The tones of Roger’s acoustic guitar are clean and warm on every track. It feels very intimate as the lonely guitar and rough sweet voice flow from song to song. I imagine this is what it would be like to hang out with Mr. Wade on some late night after a show. Maybe one day I'll confirm or deny this myself.
The songwriting on this album is truly some of the best I have run across in quite some time. The delivery of these great lines sounds purposeful and consciously distilled into short bursts of rhyme. I have always said that rhyming is important and helps move songs along while letting the listener follow a predictable pattern. It makes good lyrics easier to follow. Mr. Wade seems to agree with that idea if this record is any indication. The standout songs are the following:
“If Guitars Were Guns”: I think this song pretty well explains this entire record. Here’s a great quote from the tune “Some people play music for fortune and fame. Hell, I’m poor and nobody but I play just the same.” And another “I play what I please, out of tune and out of time.” This may be a good time to note that if you are one of those people who can’t listen to music which is not set to a metronome… some of these songs may make your brain explode. I don’t mind it at all. In fact, for me, it makes the lyrics more central in the songs. The rhythm is focused on a conversational and emotive lyrical structure, which makes these great lines really shine. I assume this is all a conscious choice by Roger because of the reference in this particular song.
“Too Long is the Time”: The lyrics to this one are so good that as I attempted to write a sample of them here I realized that I had written like eight lines of them. They flow so well right from the first word, which is “Absolutely”. How often do you hear songs that start with the word absolutely? Never. Here is the tag line that just melted my heart with its sweet succinctness, “Too long is the time between now and when I’ll hold you again.”
Released by Johnny Knoxville Records in 2012. Produced by Johnny Knoxville, Engineered, Mixed & Mastered by Dan Creech @ Revolving Blackbird Sound, Santa Monica CA -AVAILABLE @ iTunes, Amazon & everywhere music is sold online.
I loved this record. It’s a true songwriters album and the content herein is absolutely world class. Go get it. Also, pick up his other albums which are also excellently written but feature a happy country vibe on tunes like “Butt Ugly Slut” and of course Roger’s break out hit “If You’re Gonna Be Dumb, You Gotta be Tough”. They are all classics of the genre, in my opinion.