Indie country rockers, Wildwood Highway, have released their self-titled debut EP on the Road Song record label. The EP is comprised of six original, remarkable tracks that take the listener on a 20 minute joy ride. A rip-roaring, soulful, gorgeous collection of songs, “Wildwood Highway” is a surprise release of shockingly high-quality music that no fan of any music genre should miss.
The absolute beauty of “Wildwood Highway” is evident within the first ten seconds of the record. To liken this earnest band of artists to country, rock and blues legends such as Bonnie Raitt, Carole King, and The Doobie Brothers would be unfair to them, because like said legends (and others) Wildwood Highway drinks directly from the true spirit of the American sound, itself. Their pared-down style sounds exactly as it should sound, bar to bar, measure to measure, evoking precisely the emotions they intend the listener to feel. Their music breathes through them as if from a purer world, a place where every song is a golden classic the listener has somehow never heard before.
Truly, this admittedly heavy-handed description suits every song on “Wildhood Highway.” One of the record’s crown jewels (they are all exquisite) even narrates its own creation as being not unlike the above scenario. “Ruby Slippers” describes how the notes and lines are themselves written in the dream of their writer, who wakes up with the entire song complete in her mind. Other tracks, like the more masculine “Love Ride,” are full of rocking verve, groove, blues and moves that contrast their ballads like whiskey to wine.
Wildwood Highway consists of singer-songwriters Deanna Hurst, Periel (who prefers to remain mononymous) and Bradford Lee Stanfield, who is also the band’s producer. Their EP was mixed by Bradford Lee and multi-platinum, Grammy-award nominated engineer, Colin Mitchell. Periel and Deanna have been the best of friends for many years; Periel and Bradford Lee are married. After years of informal collaboration, they eventually made Wildwood Highway a formal association. Additionally, this powerful little EP also includes the staggering talents of legendary keyboardist, Bill Payne, co-founder of Little Feat as a special guest on every track.
“It was a natural progression for us to form a band,” explains Wildwood Highway. “We have such an amazing bond, both musically and personally. We’ve been a ‘mutual admiration society’ for so long, we decided to make it official.” Naturally, this chemistry translates in an almost spiritual way through the flowing warmth and genuine humanity of their sound, which is positively inimitable. They know what they’ve got in one another, too, and they allow it to inform their music. “Playing music with friends is such a deep, connected experience,” they muse, “and one of the beautiful things about life.”
“Wildwood Highway” is a musical treasure of the highest artistic integrity, and luckily, it’s one that doesn’t even need digging up. Music fans of all creeds should get in early, and thank their stars that a full-length LP is on its way for release sometime in 2014.
Los Angeles based BOB MALONE plays keyboards with rock legend John Fogerty, and continues a successful 15-year solo career as well. He plays a one-of-a-kind hybrid of blues, rock, and soul, delivered with high-energy piano virtuosity and soulful vocals. He headlines over 100 shows a year across the US, Europe, Australia and Asia, and has opened for and/or played with Rickie Lee Jones, The Neville Brothers, Rev. Al Green, Dr. John, Subdudes, Leon Russell, and many others. On TV, Bob has been a featured performer on The Price Is Right, and his music is heard on Dr. Phil, The Rachel Ray Show, Wheel Of Fortune and All My Children. Malone’s six CDs, including his latest, Ain’t What You Know, have earned Top-20 spots on the Living Blues, Roots Music Report and Earshot (Canada) radio charts, are played on over 300 NPR and A3 radio stations, on Sirius Radio’s Bluesville and The Village, and syndicated shows Car Talk, Acoustic Café, and Woodsongs Old-Time Radio Hour. Bob is a four-time recipient of the ASCAP Plus Award for independent musicians.