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The Wilders

The Wilders – 2011 (Free Dirt)

Reviewed by John Walker

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CDs by The Wilders

The Wilders have always been best known for their energetic live shows filled with hard driving acoustic traditional country music. Their new self-titled release, "The Wilders," has expanded their repertoire to new, quite enjoyable horizons.

The record starts out uniquely with Ordinary People, a mellow opener with a great acoustic guitar that immediately opens the doors and hooks you. The lead vocals of Ike Sheldon drive home the poignant lyrics, accompanied masterfully by Phil Wade on harmony and a nine-string resonator guitar. Betse Ellis plays a viola here, which adds considerably to the woeful blues. Written by Nate Gawron, this quartet is very talented.

In fact, each member contributes to the writing that also includes three instrumentals all arranged by Ellis. This is where you can tell this band has been together for 15 years, as they are extremely tight and impressive with each.

The lone cover here is written by a close friend Patrick Frazier. Pat's 25 is an exceptional haunting song, which showcases Sheldon's vocal talents, dripping with passion.

One of the many highlights here is a song written by Gawron almost eight years ago, Get Up Kid. After performing it live for a few years and getting requests from fans, the song fit well onto this record of diverse music.

Did anyone say we need more glockenspiel in music today? Well, fear not, you even get a glockenspiel solo which fits perfectly into the song Things They Say About Home.

Just for good measure, The Wilders throw in an electric hard rocker titled L.A. Written by Sheldon, this one firmly shows this is not a limited band by any definition.