The other night, on our way home from a show, my friend Christy and I got into a conversation about how many of us that follow the same type of music all have our 'ONE' (there was another term coined for it, but we won't get into details...)
Christy - Jason Boland
Meg - Hayes Carll
Suzy - Randy Rogers Band
Amber - Jason Eady
Me - Wade Bowen
Sure, there are others that we travel to go see, that we love listening to, but there seems to be SOMETHING about that ONE that's just a little different, that hits us like nothing else. And I really started thinking about why my favorite is my favorite.
Was there one moment? One song? One concert?
For me, it's a combination of all three. My story of following Wade Bowen (formerly West 84, and then Wade Bowen & West 84) started WAY back in 1999. I remember going to Hastings in College Station at the beginning of every school year and with leftover loan money, my roommate and I would each buy 5 CD's. In the fall of 1999, I bought 3 CD's I had wanted and 2 totally random CD's for the fun of it. I wanted to be surprised. One of the CDs I bought was West 84, because I thought the guys on the front were cute. (For the record, looking back at that CD now makes me laugh A LOT because the guys look so funny dressed like that standing in an open field... it was a little cliché for a Texas band at the time).
Anyways... the cd was ok at best. And I think most that have it, or have heard it, would probably agree. Not bad for a 1st CD, but it wasn't produced in Nashville or anything. I'd listen to it every once in awhile, but it didn't stand out.
Fast forward a few years to the fall of 2003. I was at the Firehouse Saloon on a Thursday night for an acoustic show with Bleu Edmondson, Stoney LaRue and Wade Bowen. It was the first time ever I have been 100% glued to my seat. The show ran long, my friends left, it was almost 1am and I had to work the next day, but I didn't care - I was riveted by the song writing of all 3. The very next day I ordered all of the CDs by all 3 that I didn't have. And I was a big fan of Wade Bowen's sophomore studio album (Try Not to Listen) and his Live at the Blue Light album. They were both a step up, and I started catching every show I could from that point forward. I loved it!
And that was that for awhile. Wade was my favorite because I really liked his show and his music - very basic, very surface-level (not the music, but rather my relationship with it). Then came 2006. At this point it had been AWHILE since Wade had released a CD - AND there was one already DONE and ready to be released, but they were waiting for the right time. Well that right time happened at the end of February 2006 and Lost Hotel was released. Just over 2 weeks later, my life was turned upside down. I have a hard time believing in fate or coinscidence, therefore I think it was perfectly timed that the two songs that would get me through the journey of recovery, Broken Reflection and Walking Along the Fenceline, were on that CD. The CD I had been waiting for from my favorite band for a long, long time. I believe it was during this time that I really realized how much healing power the music truly had.
Once again we fast forward to the fall of 2008, Wade released his latest CD, If We Ever Make It Home, and once again one of the songs, Somewhere Beautiful met me exactly where I was in life. Granted, Wade didn't write that song, Sean McConnell did, but it was on Wade's record, and I don't know that I would have heard it otherwise. To me, the song represents Young Life, an organization that I volunteer with and 100% believe in its' mission. Everyone that got into my car for 6 months had to listen to that song - on repeat. Ha! But that's how much it meant to me...
So, to wrap this up - why is Wade my one? Because he writes songs that hit me where I am in life. Which makes sense - we are about the same age, and while we have very different lives and families, there are still a lot of parallel themes. So to Wade, and the guys in the band, thank you for sacrificing what you do to share your music and thank you for pursuing your dreams.
My question to the rest of you - who is your ONE, and even more importantly, WHY?
P.S. I just got a call from a friend that didn't want to comment, because he didn't have one band that he felt that way about, but rather just a song... and that works too... just trying to open up a discussion and see what people think. So if you don't have a band, do you have a song, or an album that is your 'ONE'?