The Wildes – Ballad Of A Young Married Man
Who doesn’t love a Murder Ballad? I can’t get enough of ‘em… and The Wildes open a pearler in the form of the title track from their stunning debut “Ballad Of A Young Married Man”! The song tells the tale of a cheating heart and the consequences of following its unrighteous path, in this case, “a bullet in the chest” and all this is told from beyond the grave. And this sets the scene is set for the rest of the album.
The Wildes are a 4 piece Country/Rock band from Melbourne Australia, they have been described as Cash meets Cave and I must say that this description, or comparison caused me a bit of concern, mainly because I am a huge fan of both Johnny and Nick, but also because to be mentioned in the same breath as 2 giants in the music world, while flattering, puts on an awesome amount of pressure. These are massive boots to fill, but to my pleasant surprise, this description isn’t too far off the mark, though, after listening to their wonderfully crafted debut long player “Ballad Of A Young Married Man”, I’d throw in a dash of Waylon and Zevon into the mix for good measure. Since getting my grubby little fingers on The Wildes debut, it has been on heavy rotation in my house, car, computer, etc. in short, it’s a cracker!
The Wildes certainly sound as though they went to the Cash/Cave school of story telling through song. I’ve listened to this album a few times now and I can’t say that there’s a dud track to be had, a rarity these days. They love Cautionary Tales, Murder Ballads and Country Rambles, they love how three chord songs are ten times more powerful than more flowery intricate arrangements. They love how deep, rough vocals are more affecting than their auto-tuned, pitch-perfect counterparts. They love drama, mystery, heartbreak and the macabre. The Wildes are humanists, revelling in the human condition.
I’ve played this opus over and over again, listening for a weak spot and you know what? I couldn’t find one, it’s a beautifully produced album and the only downside I see to having a debut as strong as this, is following it up! But if this is a sign of things to come, I can’t wait for the next offering from these ever so slightly twisted troubadours from the Great Southern Land.
Ballad Of A Young Married Man was recorded in Melbourne with Arkansas-born (and ARIA winning) producer Jonathan Burnside, there’s no doubt that there’s an Americana flavour here, but the stories and humour are unmistakably Australian. None more so than the gospel flavoured “If I’ve done You Wrong”, complete with a chorus that is destined to be chanted in unison by groups of 5 or more on their way home from pubs and bars around the world.
C’mon, sing along, “If I’ve done you wrong I’m not sooooooorrrry”
Standout tracks are:
• The opener Ballad Of A Young Married Man
• If I’ve Done You Wrong…
• Jack The Blacksmith
• Slap-Back Mary
• and the closer Broken Blossoms
Till next time… Leave the Dirt on!