Folk trio Wildewood settles into a fluid space
on sophomore LP, ‘The Other Side’
By Kristin Kurens
One of the best things about stellar hometown bands is watching them come into their own. Wildewood is no exception. As the band grows, local audiences bear witness to the developing chemistry between the musicians, as well as their process of establishing a sound and presence. Wildewood is embarking on a new leg of that journey with the release of its sophomore full-length album, The Other Side.
The three-piece band formed in 2011 and includes Meredith Wilder on guitar and vocals, Greg Williams on drums and audio, and Alex McMahon on multiple instruments and vocals. Williams and Wilder had been playing music together since high school when they stumbled upon McMahon.
It was a natural fit that seemed to come together at just the right moment. As they worked to establish a solid American folk rock footing, the group released its self-titled debut album two years later, which displayed a keen ear for instrumentals, hushed opulence and restraint.
The Other Side, set for a Sep. 26 release at Bookworks, feels big, spacious and heady, and it exhibits a certain intention and consciousness. Vocals are nestled nicely alongside drums, guitar, harmonica and piano on the album, and it is obvious that the trio has grown closer.
With this record, “we had more time to develop ideas on instrumentation based off how we felt the album would stand as a whole,” Williams told Local iQ recently. He added that there was more concentration on “the idea of openness and patience” in “capturing the best live performances and fleshing out the songs to the point that they matched our creative visions.”
McMahon further described the recording process for The Other Side: “I was adamant from the beginning to stretch what I could bring to the table by playing as many different instruments as possible,” McMahon said, “to not only flesh out the songs but to also include complementary and contrastive tones to the songs.”
The tracks on the new album sound live, and essentially they are. The entire album was recorded over the course of the year, with little to no separation between the musicians.
“We had more time to develop ideas on instrumentation based off how we felt the album would stand as a whole.”
—GREG WILLIAMS, DRUMMER, WILDEWOOD
“Throughout the album, you will find songs that offer dynamic texture and lush space, and there are others that are up-front and intimate,” McMahon explained. “Most importantly, we wanted to showcase our togetherness as a trio and the amount of sound we can create, whether it is with loud electric guitars or with whispery acoustic guitar and piano.”
As has been the norm for the band since its inception, Wilder begins the writing process for the majority of the songs. “I think I consciously (and subconsciously) left more room in the structure of the songs to give Alex and Greg more freedom to do what they do best,” Wilder said. “The subject matter throughout this album is darker. I spent the past year searching for answers that I never really found, and I think that has something to do with it.”
There is very much a cool ease running underneath the quiet and dark emotional storms of Wildewood’s songs. Every element feels well-placed, effortless and perfectly timed, without seeming overworked or overwrought. Add to that Wilder’s mesmerizing voice and delivery, and you have a sound that is undeniably well-developed.
The band is certainly aware of, and spurred on by, its Albuquerque roots. “The Albuquerque music scene has taught us a lot about our determination and desire to be professional,” Wilder stated. “This is a great music scene to be a part of, and we are excited to take our sound out into the world and represent Albuquerque.”
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