Wade Bowen decided to drop a surprise EP in The Waiting a couple weeks ago. And after listening to the album, it’s a welcome one for sure. It opens with “Getaway,” a song Bowen has performed for years live, but never recorded in the studio until now. I’m glad he did, as the catchy chorus and heartland rock vibes are instantly likable. I also appreciate the theme of love going a little awry and recognizing you need a break. I’ve said it before in similar comments, but I would like to hear more songs about in-between/gray parts of relationships. It’s untapped territory and makes for interesting songs.
“Who I Am” is another live song that now has a studio version. It’s a solid, sentimental love song appropriately set to some smooth pedal steel guitar. “Red Headed Woman” is my favorite of the four live songs recorded on the EP. It’s an enjoyably descriptive song about the devil personified in a woman a man comes across, as he gets lured in by her charm before realizing who she is. It’s a more rocking number and reaffirms why I would love to see Bowen lean harder into rock on his next album.
“Mystery of a Woman” is about guys being mystified by women and their behaviors. It’s an okay song and I get where it’s coming from, but the overly assuming nature of the song will probably rub some listeners in the wrong way. “Fairest Lady” is the only new song on the album, as Bowen wrote it with Brent Cobb earlier this year. With these two as writers, it’s no surprise this is a great love song that utilizes medieval imagery well. The bluesy rock nature gives it an appropriate simmering feel.
The EP closes with Bowen covering Phil Collins’ “I Wish It Would Rain Down.” In a year where cover songs are all the rage, especially in country music, I mentioned previously I’m reaching my point of fatigue with them. Yet I really enjoy Bowen’s take on this song. It just fits his voice like a glove, as both Bowen and Collins have similarly expressive voices. Bowen is also really good at hitting those make or break high notes like Collins. So if Bowen wanted to do a Phil Collins cover album, I wouldn’t complain. (If you’re looking for more of him covering Collins, he covers “Easy Lover” on Instagram live with Josh Weathers.)
There’s been several fun little side projects released this year as a result of COVID-19 and this surprise EP from Bowen is one of the better ones for sure. Bowen is on a real hot streak with his recent releases and The Waiting only adds to my anticipation of his next full solo project.