“Bon Aqua” – Stephen Wilson Jr. (2023) [english]

When I started writing almost only about independent American artists I had no idea how many musicians and how many stories I would discover on these streets.

Every day for a few years I come across an artist that would be worth talking about. Some escape me, some I put them in the drawer waiting and others strike me at a particular moment and so that I can not ignore them or wait.

The name of my blog speaks precisely of this sentiment: the imaginary paths that I follow and on which I would like to lead listeners greedy for news.

A few days ago I participated in a radio broadcast: the program Yellow Rose of Country (broadcast by WCN Radio, in Italy). Thanks to my friendship with him, we interviewed the Italian guitarist of the Texan Creed Fisher, Emanuele Pistucchia.

Here, during that interview Emanuele explained the real difference between the independent European musical world and the American one: the desire for novelty of the audience, originality, respect for those who try to make it without resorting to covers.

This is the secret, as well as a vast world waiting to give you the right opportunity. I discovered Stephen Wilson Jr. thanks to an American friend, Matt, who lives on live music. He travels the United States making deliveries and seeing concerts and I always discover juicy news thanks to his social posts.

Stephen was born in Southern Indiana, rural Indiana, where life is dedicated to work and few other satisfactions. Born in a marriage that took place as reparation and therefore with little chance of success, he lived in the custody of his father, a professional boxer.

Father who at the age of 7 started him in this sport that accompanied him until adulthood (and a final of the Indiana State Golden Gloves), but it was when he went to visit his mother who lived in a caravan in Smyrna, Tennessee, who understood that the men who frequented her physically mistreated her and all this ended up in one of the most beautiful and intense songs of 2022 that then ended up on his first EP: this Bon Aqua.

Stephen is not a musician born and raised to be one by profession.

He majored in microbiology at Middle Tennessee University and worked for a few years for pharmaceutical companies that were testing water that was then used to make drugs.

The songs that make up this EP was almost entirely devised right in the town of Bon Aqua, Tennessee, famous for having very good water.

I would say that the title could only be this, it was destiny.

His life as a musician began as soon as he graduated, he founded a rock band with which he toured a long time, but he wanted to be a songwriter, a writer of true stories and a singer and his path led him to today, on the launch pad.

In Nashville he wrote songs for many artists (Tim McGraw, Trace Adkins…), but now after signing for Big Loud Records, everything is set because his way is on the rise and his journey will take him to Europe where he will be in concert at the Royal Albert Hall, as an artist in the Highways Country Festival and will also touch Germany.

The music you will find in these 7 pieces is not country in the strict sense of the term, but country is innovative, modern, damn true and exciting.

The Devil starts and immediately takes our stomach with a dramatic film intro, Wilson’s deep voice tells us about the problems that we face every day and the acoustic guitar just mentioned let the story be the important part.

A rhythmic background that serves as a backdrop to light electric pinnates, a rock that seems to refer to the early Springsteen and the dramatic music of John Mellencamp.

The next American Gothic, written and sung with colleague Hailey Whitters, is a very intense, modern country song, but with a melancholy lyrics. Both come from the wheat fields, she from Iowa and he from Indiana, and they both try to bring this rural and true image into this beautiful duet.

A celebration of his hero, his father, and all the important people in his life who have died, here is the text of Year To Be Young 1994. If you have the opportunity to watch the video of the song with footage taken from the family VHS, images of his father, the deceased half-brother, one of his best friends. An exciting way to celebrate the importance of these people in the life of Stephen Wilson Jr.

The song is a melancholy rock, the guitars are there but often leave room for the evocative voice of Wilson.

A song that reminded me of another artist I told you about a short time ago, namely Travis Meadows, the same poetic vein, the same narrative talent.

Hometown is a love poem for the city where he was born, nostalgia for the good times and awareness that his real home will always be there. Here too the melody is an American rock of what we learned to love with Springsteen, the one where the importance of stories is almost cinematic: a story in a few lines. It takes an uncommon talent.

The next one, Holler from the Holler, is the real jewel of the EP.

An almost southern rock guitar, dragged, dusty. A song with raw and true lyrics, almost autobiographical with a teenager who saves his mother from a violent man, killing him.

Raw and damn well written, this piece has rhythm, it has groove, but it is also a poetry of experiences tried at high cost on their skin. Here, too, the video will catch your stomach, a movie of a few minutes.

Billy starts out almost like a bluegrass song, then there’s rock, a little Southern melody and Wilson’s intense narration does the rest. True stories, stories that the people of those parts can only make their own and that’s why the music of this EP will hit the mark.

No artifice or anything artfully created in some shiny studio in Nashville.

The album ends with The Beginning, with a beautiful guitar work and usually such an intense and cinematic story. The ability to tell stories in a few lines is really not for everyone and the sentences of this song strike for their simplicity and their make center at the first stroke:

And i read the holy books and I poured through the pages
Upon a closer look, I had a revelation
Yeah, I noticed there’s a trend
The world keeps spinning
We’ve been talking ‘bout the end ever since the beginning
Yet the sun comes up again
Yet the sun comes up again
Someday we’ll all look up and pray for love to change us
Find the courage to be kind and then
Hell, maybe we ain’t finished

Yeah, maybe
This is just the beginning

A debut that leaves its mark, in the souls and hearts of those who will listen to it.

A poet, a storyteller and a musician of the first order, who strikes hard as his direct hit the opponents in the ring.

Let yourself be seduced by a true artist who with these 7 pieces has opened the door on his world and his land, if there is an album that can define where the independent country of the future will go is this: it will go where there will be true stories to tell and souls to excite. All simple, all damn real and never banal, like this wonderful record.

Good listening,

Trex Willer by http://www.ticinonotizie.it

(in Ticino Notizie web site you can find original italian version of this article)

Pubblicato da Trex

Sono un blogger e scrittore appassionato di musica indipendente americana. Scrivo gialli polizieschi e ho inventato il personaggio del detective texano Cody Myers.

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