The mind can wander to strange places as sleep just begins to overtake it. For Holladay singer-songwriter Henry Wade, that's when his best music comes to him—and the phrase "comes to him" is the most accurate description of the phenomenon.
"I'll have full songs come into my head, like full arrangements, vocals, everything ... for short times, like 30 seconds," Wade says. "And if I can pop up and remember it, a lot of stuff that I write comes from that."
The title of Wade's debut solo album, Meet Your Creature, also appeared in his head as he was "zoning out" before falling asleep. Warm and woodsy, the collection of folksy Americana tunes is the product of Wade's unique approach to songwriting: allowing ideas to flow to him organically instead of forcing something to work. "It's amazing what can happen when your brain just opens up and you're not trying to control what's happening," he says.
Wade has been interested in music since he was "a little tiny kid," he says. "Before I could even think about what I wanted to do, I was attracted to other people playing guitars." But once he started playing guitar seriously and wanting to devote himself to his music, he learned that it was rare to find collaborating musicians "committed enough to work as much as I want to," he says.
That all changed once American Fork singer-songwriter Joshua James agreed to produce Meet Your Creature, recording half of the tracks at his home/studio Willamette Mountain and contributing vocals and various instruments to several songs. James also connected Wade to influential local musicians such as Timothy George (of Timmy the Teeth) and singer-songwriter Isaac Russell, who both contributed to the album. Finally getting to work with artists as passionate as he is, Wade says, "was like a new world for me."
While the added musicians on Meet Your Creature "helped bring out the best of what was already there," Wade says, his songwriting ultimately carries the album. With his smoky, resonant voice, he sings mostly about "different magical experiences that happen like once or twice in your life that you always remember," he says.
And like an impressionist painter, Wade usually writes lyrics to be open to interpretation, "trying to capture a feeling that's hard to describe through one word," he says. Wade has learned that instead of writing music to certain expectations, it's better to "get as far away from that as you can get, to where your subconscious is pouring out whatever you can get it to pour out."
w/Vincent Draper, Charles Ellsworth, Claire Elise
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Thursday, July 17, 8:30 p.m.