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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

inexperienced musician.

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

its finest.



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