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.”
7p, Fri., Sep. 26
4022 Rio Grande NW, 505.344.8139
$10 (includes CD)
Before I go to bed tonight I’m listening to rough mixes of our second full album and I have to say- I am proud of what we’ve made this year. Even if, God forbid, the three of us are the only ones listening to this CD years from now, I am so glad we will have it as proof that we made this music here and now.
Greg and I flew to Chicago to catch Alex playing pedal steel and electric guitar with The Handsome Family last week. Alex, the professional he is, did an amazing job. To see him on stage and hear his beautiful additions to their songs was well worth the trip. Traveling together gave us that itch to get on the road again. Now all we have to do is book some out of town gigs…
Here are some upcoming shows. See you there!
Friday, September 12 Low Spirits Saltine Rambler’s Reunion Show 8:00 PM
Friday, September 18 El Pinto 5:00 – 8:00 PM
Friday, September 19 Explora Adult Night “The Science of Food” 6:30 – 9:30 PM
Friday, September 26 CD RELEASE at Bookworks 7:00 PM
Hey. It’s been a while since I’ve posted anything but that’s not to say Wildewood hasn’t been busy. We’ve just been busy individually! I traveled to England and Washington state this past month and Alex and Greg played a lot at home in those three weeks. Tonight, however, after coming back into the scene with two local gigs, we got to play a wedding reception at Los Poblanos. It was beautiful, to say the least. To see people dancing and enjoying our music was such a pleasure. Alex and Greg have been adding new parts to our songs that blow me away every time. After seeing a bigger picture of the world we live in this summer it sure is good to be back in Albuquerque.
Next up… our first time at the Santa Fe Bandstand on Monday, August 25. This will be our last show before Alex heads to Virginia for his shows with The Handsome Family. We’ll have a pretty good send off if you ask me!
Thank you for keeping up with our music. September holds some exciting events for us and we hope to see you there.
Filmed at the Corrales Grower’s Market on June 15, 2014
We just spent the night playing a gig at El Pinto followed by a rehearsal with AJ Woods. We’ll be backing him up next week. The recordings for our second album are almost ready for the mixing and mastering. So many exciting shows coming up… we’ll be busy but we’ll be happy!
Saturday, May 31 Low Spirits w/ Sloan Armitage and Prudy Dimas 9:00 PM
Tuesday, June 3 Il Vicino Brewery 6:00 – 9:00 PM w/ AJ Woods
Tuesday, June 3 Sister 10:00 PM w/ AJ Woods
Wednesday, June 4 House show in Santa Fe w/ AJ Woods and Elise Marie 7:30 PM
Thursday, June 5 Beer Underground 7:00 – 10:00 PM
Friday, June 6 Marble w/ Porter Draw 8:00 PM
Saturday, June 7 ABQ Folk Fest 5:30PM
Last night we played the first of four shows this week. We play a lot in Albuquerque but this is more than usual. A few things struck me during the set at Marble: despite the weather, cold and windy and unrelenting, there were people outside listening to us for our whole three hour set. I know Marble’s great beer could have been the main reason everyone was keeping warm but the fact remains that I was more motivated to play and sing my best because of the company we were in. Those people, you know who you are, ranged from old friends who have listened before Wildewood was even a band, co-workers, and folks we have met simply because we played a show in the past few years and made a connection. I was overwhelmed with the view from the stage knowing that our past four years as a band, and really the past ten years of pursuing music on our own, has brought us this far. Thank you for showing up and reinforcing our hard work.
Four local shows in five days is a lot but it’s what we love to do. Here’s to another three hour set tonight at Scalo…
If you’ve ever caught yourself wondering what Telecasters Meredith and I are playing, or how Greg gets those custom drum sizes, look no further; actually, just look a little further…