Ahead of returning to the UK on a headline tour later this month, Wade Bowen took some time out of his busy day to share his excitement about the run of dates. He also told the story behind new song Yours Alone and we learnt more about his influences. Check it out below!
So first of all tell me about the first moment when you knew you wanted to be a musician?
Well I always dreamed about it as a kid growing up, but I started thinking about it seriously when I was about 17, that’s when I started trying to figure out how to play guitar and write songs. I started a band when I was 19 and never looked back.
When you was growing up what did your parents play to you and what are you listening to now?
I had quite an influence in my house growing up, my mum was into Patsy Cline and Elvis, a bunch of oldies, the fifties music and she loved The Eagles. My Dad listened to the opposite, he listened to Willie and Waylon and Guy Clark, more songwriter stuff like Robert Earle. Nowadays I listen to… well I named my son Bruce after Bruce Springsteen he’s a huge influence of mine but I still listen to quite a lot of the influences I had growing up from my parents and my sisters, I had two older sisters who listened to Country music like Alabama and Garth Brooks and George Strait so I’ve got influences all over the place that I’ve tried to soak up.
When it comes to your own songwriting where do you draw inspiration from, is it mainly personal experience?
It is for me yeah, I consider myself to be an open diary kind of songwriter which can be very good but it can also be very rough on the people around me, especially my poor wife who handles it with grace in the best way she can. That’s just the way I am and anybody who knows me personally knows I’m pretty emotional, a somewhat intense character and I try to bring that into my creative World as well. I just try to be as real as I can with myself and my songs and hopefully that translates to everyone who listens to the music as well.
I wondered if you could tell me the story behind a particular song “Yours Alone” which is the bonus track on the new vinyl right?
Right yeah, that song I wrote about 8 or 9 years ago actually. I wrote it with my buddy Sean McConnell and we tracked it for the album but sonically when I went through that record and looked at the songs as a whole, I wanted it to feel like a concept album even though it wasn’t lyrically, I wanted it to all link together like a movie does and I felt like this beautiful, pretty love song did not fit sonically with the rest of it. It was my favourite track of the entire project but sometimes we have to sacrifice our favourites so that the project makes sense. So I’m glad it’s out to the World now!
You mentioned one of your collaborators there but who are your favourite people to work with?
I love writing with Sean McConnell who I mentioned he’s one of my best buddy’s, there are writers in Nashville that I like to work with like Jeremy Spillman and Randy Foster. I write with whoever, there’s people here like Randy Rogers who I like to write with, we’ve done a couple of albums together. People like Jim Beavers and John Randall. We all have a few select people that we write with and go back to and those guys hit that mould for me.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve ever written a song about?
I wrote a song about a guys dog one time, a stray dog that he’d picked up, that was pretty awkward but I went with it because I don’t ever turn down opportunities to write anything because it’s shocking sometimes the greatness you can get out of stretching your comfort zone. I also wrote a song, it was a bit weird, about a fairy princess, relating your love to like a fairy princess and it’s weird as heck but I actually like the song so maybe one day I’ll put it on a record.
On stage are you completely focused or do you let your mind wander, we call it your mid-gig thoughts?
It just depends on the moment, I don’t think it can wander too much as I really love being on stage and in the moment and I challenge myself to really be in the moment of the song. There’s so much going on with the crowd in the room or the band and you bring your personal life into all that as well but I think it’s all relative. I play 150 shows a year every year for the past 21 years so I think there’s moments where my personal life has caused me to wander but I think I do a pretty good job of not letting that happen for the most part.
You’re coming to the UK to tour very soon, what are you most looking forward to about that?
I love being a songwriter and I love being lyrically driven in my career, I love the experiences I’ve had in the UK, people really listen to songs, intensely to what you have to say. I say that with the upmost respect because it’s not that they don’t here in the States it’s just a different listening crowd when I play over there. Every time I’ve played the UK, I’ve come back singing y’alls praises because it really is a song friendly tour, so I love it.
Finally, what’s next for you?
I’ve got a lot of stuff on my plate, I had vocal surgery last year, I’ve come out the other side. Not that I ever took playing music for granted but I’m excited to be back playing again. I had to cancel my UK tour last year so I’m just glad to be back. I’ve got a new record, I’m working on a Christmas record, I’m working on a record with Randy Rogers - we do a duo album that comes out early next year and in the meantime I’m going to be working on my solo stuff. So a lot on my plate that I’m real excited about.