Morgan Wade – Reckless
Reckless is 26 year-old Morgan Wade’s debut album, following two strong single releases. In a modest ten songs, the Virginia-raised newcomer captures her navigation of a four-year journey to sobriety. The record was produced with Sadler Vaden and Grammy-winning Paul Ebersfold, and comfortably blends country, folk and rock for a hearty, undulating sound.
Debut single Wilder Days is a confident opener with spirit rooted in its texture. There’s kickback Southern twang and a lightness in her curiosity about a love interest she wishes she had met sooner – it’s an Amy McDonald-esque nostalgia for an unknown past. The second single on the record, Don’t Cry has already made its impression on listeners with touching sentiment – “it’s a beautiful thing to fall apart” – dismantling the stigma of mental health struggles.
Other Side is enlivened and engaging, instantly wrapping listeners in the story of someone who knew her skin before the tattoos. The lyrics run with the natural rhythm and satisfying conviction of authentic Americana acoustic guitar. Reckless is the live wire of the album, a surge of anger, which, though it maintains a safe structure, holds its own with more gritty instrumentation and triggered frustration over a broken heart.
Languid vocals are stretched overtop percussion in Northern Air. Despite the kick in the beat, there are darker notes in this track, with moaning background synths shadowing the haunting gaze she describes feeling. Mend highlights Wade’s proclivity for self-deprecation, with untainted truthfulness. A solemn electric guitar melody meets “I’m not much of anything”, and an almost forlorn hope. Take Me Away aches with a country pull, weighted further by lyrics like “angry bones” and a “heart like a loaded gun”. These tracks especially demonstrate an intentional lyricism. There are no fillers: every line possesses solid worth.
Honesty about addiction is scattered through Last Cigarette and especially Met You, with its rippling keyboard alluding to hallucination. The latter sways towards a ballad, and “I’d seen it all, or so I thought, until I lost you” is an end note that hovers poignantly – the singer-songwriter is not afraid to close on a sharp edge.
There is a beautiful roughness to Morgan Wade that she doesn’t attempt to conceal, and vocals with both raspy and velvety qualities offer cathartic immersion. Personal emotive attachment propels stories sung with pure spontaneity, as if her words are heard first by the listener, and each song is a real-time interaction. She doesn’t try too hard in this admirable debut record that will certainly draw focus in the country music scene. One is left curious to learn more about the fascinating way she sees and survives this world.
Reckless is released on 19th March 2021. For further information or to order the album visit Morgan Wade’s website here.
Listen to single Take Me Away here: