Wade Bowen

If We Ever Make It Home

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On his third studio album, If We Ever Make It Home, Texas singer/songwriter Wade Bowen takes a giant leap forward. Bowen's 2006 Lost Hotel album revealed a raw talent that had yet to be completely fleshed out. Bowen was quick to stake his claim in the Americana market, but it was obvious he had a ways to go to match the music of his heroes, Texas singer/songwriters like Guy Clark and Robert Earl Keen. On If We Ever Make It Home, the Lone Star troubadour proves himself a challenger for the Red Dirt Music throne. Songs like the sensitive "Turn on the Lights," a touching number that finds the singer struggling to pick up the broken pieces of a relationship he's not quite ready to let die, and the lump-in-the-throat "Daddy and the Devil," a bleak track about the fine line we sometimes walk between heaven and hell, hit the emotion button hard. Americana constant Chris Knight adds his crushed-glass vocals to the latter. Bowen treads the same musical territory as fellow Texans Randy Rogers and Kevin Fowler throughout the disc, especially on the fervent "Trouble." Bowen delivers a dusty-throated vocal that his backing band smothers in a jangly, guitar-heavy sauce. In three albums Bowen has gone from up-and-comer to contender.

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