The Given by Wade Bowen
Wade Bowen is a Texan, which makes him part of a proud and independent musical tradition, though it can limit one’s appeal to regions shy of the Nashville country mainstream.
That’s been his story—one shared by Texas contemporaries the Eli Young Band, who toured for years, turned out a road-hardened sound and, just last year, honed it into a hit country album with a No. 1 single. Wade appears poised to make a similar breakthrough in their wake with The Given, his first album for a major label. Wade, with assists from successful and upcoming Nashville tunesmiths and producer Justin Niebank, tweaks his sound to mainstream radio standards without sacrificing the relatively raw, guitar-driven approach of his earlier work, giving him a distinct yet accessible musical voice.
Lyrically, The Given offers commentary on relationships from a nearly 360-degree perspective, from desolation to domestic difficulties to the wonder and delight of dadhood, all while sidestepping typical clichés. Texan legend Guy Clark guests; that this speaks loudly of Bowen’s legitimacy is indeed a given.