Shadwick Wilde preserves all that is his on ‘Forever Home’

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Recommended Tracks: “Floating Away”, “Better Version of You”, “Please Love Me (I’m Drowning)”
Artists You May Like: Jason Isbell, Josh Ritter, Jack Johnson

How do we differentiate between what is needed and what is wanted? Should there be a difference? Is a “need” more important than a “want?” When these questions begin to follow us around in our decision-making, it may be best to take a time out, breathe, and let the answers come naturally. For Shadwick Wilde, meditation and therapy were two exercises that helped him find clarity. After taking time away from his band Quiet Hollers, Shadwick explored the process of surrender and applied it to the making of his first real solo album in twelve years, Forever Home. Letting these songs unfold in whichever way they pleased, Shadwick and his producer, Ken Coomer, strove for minimal takes and pure live recordings for a more genuine experience. In the end, the album contains ten tracks that expand on what Shadwick wants and what he needs, giving him a chance to be more grateful for what he already has in his life.

We get a sense that Shadwick is content with where he is headed and the various relationships he has found along the way. Starting with “Easy Rider,” he focuses on taking things slow, embracing what each day has to offer. Over finger-picked lines from the acoustic guitar, he sings, “I’m in no hurry, mama / I’ve got a real kind of hope for these days” and “I’m your easy rider / Our troubles, baby, will fade with ease.” The track’s gentle sounds and journey-associated imagery parallel the stylings of “Lonesome Road,” which also touches on making the most out of what’s going on and who is around. The sweetness from the strings brings a sense of comfort as we hear about Shadwick’s trek down the “lonesome road.” He observes, “I’ve been on a lonesome road / To anywhere the trade winds blow / Here and then away again.” After hearing, “And if the sun should rise behind me / How the cracks will show,” we understand how important it is for him to keep whoever is in his life within reach, as the loneliness would be enough to make him shatter. Luckily, his “Two Girls With Hazel Eyes” keep him company. The peppy string lines and short duration of this track add to its overall charm, bringing forth all the light and love he has for these girls who are his “undeserved prize.”

Shadwick’s love comes through on most of the tracks on this album. We learn that he will fight to keep love around, as he does on “Dark Hours” and the title track. On “Dark Hours,” Shadwick exposes an enduring love. His heavy yet smooth vocals glide over the full band sound that accompanies lyrics like, “My love for you could carry me through flames / And I’d return unscathed,” making this an intense listen. He hopes that his love will serve as the light when life becomes too dark, and this sentiment is expressed again on “Forever Home.” In between the merry sounds of the stylophone he so mentions in the song, Shadwick sings, “No matter where I’ve gone / I’m never so far away / That I’m more than a day away from you / And if you ask me to, I can turn the ship around.” His devotion is so strong that he will “burn it all to the ground” if his partner ever requests for a different home, an act that will hopefully not be necessary.

But there is always a possibility that love can be lost, a fear that is brought up again and again. On the declarative ballad “Please Love Me (I’m Drowning),” Shadwick is determined to not let his demons take over and drive away his relationship. We can sense the tension as he sings, “Please love me, I’m drowning in an ocean of tears / Pulled down by the weight of a thousand fears / Won’t you give me your hand, babe / Before I disappear?” He is aware of the conflict at-hand, acknowledging that even though it was hard to find love in the first place, it is “harder still to keep afloat.” Yet, sometimes loss is inevitable, as we hear on “Without You.” The moody tones of the piano, synth, and guitar make this one of the heavier tracks on the album, especially when paired with the gut-wrenching lyrics. The unexplained forces of death come through in the lines, “I don’t want to leave this place without you / But everybody leaves this place alone,” cementing the idea that this kind of separation is final. It is a scary concept, but if it becomes too much, just turn to the jovial sounds that come through on “Better Version of You.” While this track also has conflicted lyrics, the celebratory lines from the trumpet, percussion, and bajo sexto are enough to make the mood lighter.

All in all, Forever Home is an emotional, authentic reminder to appreciate the here and now. While the songs dive into assorted successes and downfalls, desires and fears, the main message is to not get caught up in the gray area. We have to preserve what is already in front of us because the worries we have for tomorrow or the regret we have for the past is irrelevant. The disaster we are preparing for may never happen; the time we have lost we cannot get back. And even if we do not understand how we got to where we are or feel undeserving of it, it is best to try to make the most of the situation. Make the moment your forever home.

You can listen to Forever Home on platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, and SoundCloud.

Keep up with Shadwick Wilde: Instagram // Twitter // Facebook // TikTok // YouTube // Website

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