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Wade Bowen

The Given – 2012 (BNA)

Reviewed by Michael Sudhalter

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CDs by Wade Bowen

Wade Bowen has spent the past dozen years evolving as an artist, from the frat rock days as the frontman of West 84 to being one of the modern day standard-bearers of the emerging Texas Music Scene. Now, the Waco, Texas native is bringing his acoustic-based sound to Nashville with the "The Given."

Bowen co-wrote nine of the album's 10 songs, but the one he didn't may be the record's biggest gem, To Live Is To Fly, a duet with Guy Clark on a Townes Van Zandt-penned song. Those who appreciate singer-songwriter music are going to love it, but the appeal may not go far on radio. The first single, Saturday Night is an uptempo, yet sarcastic view of weekend celebration. It doesn't do much to distinguish Bowen from many of his peers on the radio.

Some songs recall memories from Bowen's recent efforts, such as All That's Left a somber acoustic tune similar to One Step Closer Ballads reign supreme in the traditional, acoustic Bowen vein, but On My Way to Wonderful is a departure for Bowen. A more tender, introspective ballad.

With the help of equally talented songwriters Adam Hood, Scooter Carusoe and Sean McConnell, Bowen covers new ground on songs like the Springsteen-esque A Battle Won and the rockabilly-driven Beat Me Down.