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CD REVIEW: Nathan Wade - The Dead Leaves Sing
By Kevin Zarnett - 07/13/2006 - 05:41 PM EDT

Artist: Nathan Wade
Album: The Dead Leaves Sing
CD Review: On his excellent debut CD The Dead Leaves Sing, Seattle's Nathan Wade explores the dark and gritty side of roots and Americana, drawing resourcefully on blues and gospel to find its shape.

Wade is a fierce and dynamic blues guitar player, which is thoroughly demonstrated, but his songwriting never lets that one component define the CD. There's a brief progression and melody that occur in The Final Blow that has more of an early pop sensibility, not to mention the child-like "deedle-eedle-dee" vocable of Seen the Glory. The song Suicidal Revival deserves special mention; an intimate, lyrically deft and shaded folk number, with perhaps a flash of early Dylan influence (a la Don't Think Twice), is a definite goosebump effort.

In addition to Nick Cave, the lyrics bare the influence of more gospel-inspired blues, evident in titles like Seen the Glory and The Reaper's Son, with the song Long Black Lilies reminiscent of Blind Willie Johnson, both lyrically and in its mood and delivery - another of the CD's achievements.

Nathan Wade is a strong and engaging singer, and varies his vocal treatments throughout the disc, continually showing he has one more layer to reveal. The performances, both vocally as well the guitar playing, were so strong I became curious as to how they were recorded, and wasn't surprised that most of it was done live as opposed to overdubbing - but yet it still has the feel of strong record-making; the subtle background vocals on Season for the Crows, or fiddle and mandolin seasoned here and there, along with acoustic bass and drums.

Describing his own music as Post-Apocalypse Americana, which seems apt, Nathan Wade realizes his vision, right down to the album artwork, in an authentic and convincing fashion.

For more information on Nathan Wade, visit: www.nathanwademusic.com and myspace
To purchase The Dead Leaves Sing, visit: CD Baby


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