Photo by Cambria Harkey
Texas native and popular country rocker Wade Bowen has a significant fan base within the state’s music scene. However, his forthcoming album Solid Ground, out tomorrow, is likely to introduce him and the diverse sounds of Texas to many potential new fans.
This project marks his first release via Thirty Tigers, who’ve long been supporters of Bowen, and features collaborations with Miranda Lambert, Charlie Worsham, Angaleena Presley, Jack Ingram, and Lucie Silvas, among others. Bowen worked with longtime friend and renowned producer Keith Gattis (Dwight Yoakam, George Strait, Willie Nelson, Kenny Chesney, Randy Rodgers Band) on the album.
“I call this my Texas album, ” Bowen says. “I’ve had glimpses of this in past records, but I’ve never really made a full record from start to finish sonically that was just Texas through and through.” Bowen cites the diverse mix of rock, country, Americana, blues, and Tejano that makes up the Texas sound. He set out to make an album that portrays his love for his home state and depict the Texas roots that are deep within his soul: “That’s what I mean when I say the Texas album or Solid Ground – it’s built on where this all started.”
Solid Ground is a collection of personal experiences, memories and feelings, and after speaking with Bowen, it’s evident that he worked hard to make this album different from anything he’s done before. “We tried hard to make this feel like a concept album, even though lyrically it’s not,” he explains. “We wanted to make one that feels like a movie, or feels like you’re part of a project as you’re listening to it.”
As the album plays through, you’ll find yourself envisioning the vast and unique sounds that make up the diverse Texas musical landscape. Complete with ballads, nostalgic tracks, and foot-tapping jams, Solid Ground does exactly what Bowen set out to do. It highlights all of the things that Wade Bowen loves about his home state.
“Couldn’t Make You Love Me,” the first track on the album, demands your attention with it’s obvious swagger. “We didn’t even have it finished, we just threw it out there and it just came together perfectly,” Bowen says. “It had the balls and the swagger that we were going for, and I knew from the moment we started tracking it that it was going to sound different.” He explains that once they had finished tracking it, Gattis turned to him and said, “This is the song that we measure every other song on the record off of, this is the measuring stick.”
“So Long 6th Street,” featuring Miranda Lambert and Jack Ingram (both fellow Texas natives), is an ode to the city of Austin and the time he spent there after graduating college. Bowen refers to this particular time in his life as one of the most challenging in his career and uses the song to express gratitude for the challenges faced while in Austin because they made him stronger. He sings “So long 6th Street, yeah I think it’s time / I’m all outta quarters to play / I’m all outta rhymes / I got a few loose strings, I’m gonna have to leave behind / Please don’t hold it against me, I think we both know why.”
“Broken Glass” was not specifically written for this album. He came across it while digging through his old songs, something he says he does whenever he’s getting ready to work on a new project. It was born out of something he’d said in a fit of anger to his wife – something that he wished he could have taken back, he says. It’s the type of song that hits you in the gut and really connects you to a feeling through the lyrics, the way only a true personal experience can.
“7:30,” Written with Angaleena Presley and Waylon Payne, Bowen explains that they were attempting to write a sad country song (Bowen admits these are his favorite to write). After completing the song without a title, Payne suggested “7:30,” a reference to the exact time he received a phone call about the passing of a loved one. The song beautifully describes the pain of getting news that will forever change you.
“Day of the Dead” happens to be the only track Bowen did not have a hand in writing on the album. Upon listening to the Keith Gattis-penned song, he knew it had to be on the album and says it’s one of the most unique songs he’s ever cut. Filled with Mariachi and complete with horn section, “Day of the Dead” transports you to Lajitas, a Texas ghost town located near Big Bend National Park.
The last track, “Calling All Demons,” is more than seven minutes long, but pulls the entire album together and definitely leaves you still wanting more. Solid Ground is a cohesive collection of songs and eclectic sounds, which when combined with Bowen’s grit and extraordinary storytelling ability, is nothing short of magnificent.
Solid Ground Track Listing
- “Couldn’t Make You Love Me” (Wade Bowen, Keith Gattis, Audley Freed)
- “Day Of The Dead” (Keith Gattis)
- “So Long 6th Street” Feat. Jack Ingram & Miranda Lambert (Wade Bowen, Keith Gattis)
- “Broken Glass” Feat. Lucie Silvas (Wade Bowen)
- “Death, Dyin’ And Deviled Eggs” Feat. Jon Randall (Wade Bowen, John Randall)
- “7:30” (Wade Bowen, Angaleena Presley, Waylon Payne)
- “Acuña” (Wade Bowen, Keith Gattis, Audley Freed)
- “Compass Rose” (Wade Bowen, Andrew Combs)
- “Anchor” Feat. Lucie Silvas (Wade Bowen, Jeremy Spillman)
- “Fell In Love On Whiskey” (Wade Bowen, Charlie Worsham)
- “Calling All Demons” (Wade Bowen, Seth James)