Cullen Wade and The Waters Self Titled Release 'Cullen Wade and The Waters'
Louisiana-born Cullen Wade has long since re-located to Nashville, Music
City U.S.A., in pursuit of new musical avenues. Wade and his band The
Waters self-titled debut album, set to hit in mid -August, is the result
of ten years’ worth of live dates and consistent woodshedding free from
any desire to pander for his audience. Singles such as “Surviving” and
“Knocked Me Dead” resound with unquestionable authenticity that
distinguishes his songwriting thus far and the accompanying video for
the latter accentuates his strengths. Despite the debut status of this
offering, it doesn’t come across as the work of a novice. Wade has
worked long and hard honing his craft and it translates into
full-fledged artistry rather than the work of a precocious but
The coherence of the album opener “Monster” is impressive. He embraces a
roots rock sound, but dynamics are a key reason for the song’s success.
It kicks off and ends with a smattering of acoustic guitar and Wade
alternates between an elegiac mid-tempo rock sound and hushed refrains
throughout the body of the tune. He scatters tasty lead guitar lines
throughout the arrangement and Wade’s emotive, yet unusual, voice tugs
at listener’s hearts without ever sounding overwrought.
VIDEO "Knocked Me Dead":
He continues mixing acoustic and electric guitar with great effect
during the second track “Broken and Bruised”. There’s a hint of Neil
Young and Crazy Horse audible in the song’s fuzzed out mid-tempo amble,
stormy and verging on chaos without ever tipping over the brink, and it
complements Wade’s voice. Wade and the Waters fully abandon their
electric guitars in favor of lyrical acoustic musings for the album’s
third track “Surviving”. It’s a delicate yet powerful song deriving much
of its muscle from the stark intimacy of the instrumentation and
arguably Wade’s finest vocal yet.
Piano fills help flesh out “Surviving” and “Knocked Me Dead” benefit
from crucial color provided by organ. It’s far from omnipresent but
helps weave a richer tapestry for the performance. He ramps up the tempo
a little for this track without the song ever racing away from listeners
and the vital surging qualities of the cut contribute to it ranking as
one of the debut’s finest moments. The rising tide of “Sinking Ship”
simmers for the entirety of the song without ever exploding outright and
that constant tension is one of its most memorable attributes. The
near-shuffle pace of the arrangement holds together thanks to the innate
chemistry shared by Wade and his bandmates.
“Preacher Boy” hinges on its bluesy crawl without ever succumbing to
cliché. Wade laces warm slide guitar throughout the arrangement that
nicely counterpoints his voice and the rhythm section shines. The
relaxed midnight mid-tempo movement of the album’s finale “Take It Slow”
makes it an ideal final curtain for the debut. Longtime music fans will
particularly relish the drum sound Wade achieves for this finale. The
song puts a well-considered period at the end of the debut’s musical
sentence and underlines the solid internal logic fueling the release.
Cullen Wade and The Waters’ self-titled debut doesn’t have a single weak
track and stands as an example of modern songwriting craftsmanship at