Wade Bowen Doesn’t Settle on ‘Solid Ground’
Wade Bowen's new Solid Ground album is distinctly Texas. The melting pot of sounds and genres — blues to country to rock — led to the album Bowen needed to make at this point in his career.
"There's a sound and a feel and a love that comes out of Texas. I set out to do that with this record," he tells Taste of Country of how he tried to capture the "raw emotion" of his home state. Creating Solid Ground was a challenge, but he purposefully surrounded himself with a team of creative minds, including some of Nashville's best (Angeleena Presley, Charlie Worsham, Lucie Silvas all worked with him on this project). He wanted to see what he was capable of as an artist, and he aimed to make an album completely unique from his past releases.
"That means dig deep and see what else is inside of me," Bowen admits. "It was a very big challenge. I challenged myself on purpose and had everyone around me challenge us as well, and I feel like you hear that on the record. I feel like you hear an artist that didn't just settle to make another record."
This growth is reflected in the album's 12 dynamic tracks. "So Long 6th Street (featuring Miranda Lambert and Jack Ingram) is the "most powerful" song on the album from a vocal perspective, Bowen says. The therapeutic "Death, Dyin' and Deviled Eggs" was penned two weeks after the death of his mentor, Guy Clark, and Bowen attempted to "paint pictures with words" just as Clark did. A mariachi-style song called "Day of the Dead" may be the "most unique" song he's ever cut.
And then there's the one he was afraid to share with his wife. Bowen unveils the struggles of marriage on "Anchor," an intrinsically honest reminder not to put love on the back burner. "It's just a very open, honest song about how marriage is tough," he explains. "It really takes me to another place emotionally that's pretty difficult, but it also helps me get through. I think it always has helped us get through those things, whenever we struggle and I write about it, it seems to kind of open it up and help us get through a year."
"Broken Glass" also reflects that kind of struggle. Bowen penned the song in the wee hours of the morning following a heated argument with his wife that ended with hurtful words and a lot of regret. "I immediately wrote the song right after that, right after she slammed the door and went to bed for the night. I stayed up all night and wrote that song," he recalls. You believe him, because he bleeds emotion as he sings: "And here I sit / Alone in coldness / From words that I said / That ain't ever coming back" over a waning melody.
Bruce Springsteen provided a heavy helping of inspiration for Bowen on this release. The Texas country singer admires his innate ability to sing about the place he calls home while somehow it a universal, relatable topic. Bowen accomplishes the same on Solid Ground.
"That's really the focus of this record to me — that's the pride of it, that's what I feel it encompasses is," he says of the music about the Lone Star State. "It's just showing people the pride I have in the sounds that come out of my state and choosing to make that a universal thing ... to make them feel like not only that they understand where I'm from, but also that they feel a part of the team, they feel a part of the journey."
Bowen's Solid Ground is available now.