Wade Bowen has a new self-titled album set for release on Oct. 28. To hear him describe it, that day can't get here soon enough.
"Impatient, I guess is a good word for it," Bowen said in a recent phone interview. "It's such a long process from the moment you start an album to the moment it actually comes out, so it's really a lot of patience to sit there and just wait for that day. … Especially a guy that tours as much as I do and plays as many shows as we do, you're just anxious for people to actually have it in their hands so they can hear it and experience the music."
The Waco native and Texas Tech graduate, who performs at Hurricane Harry's tonight, is a longtime part of the Texas country scene. Bowen calls the new album "a step in a different direction for me." There's more energy to it, he says. And without the restraints of a major label, he says he's found a new creative freedom.
"I tried so hard in the past to prove myself for so many different reasons -- either prove myself as a writer, or prove myself as an artist, or trying to prove myself on a major label," he says. "With this one, there was none of that. I didn't put that kind of pressure on myself. I just relaxed and got a group of people in the studio with me that I knew were going to have fun, and tried to create a more positive, energetic record."
That's especially true of the opening track and lead single, the good-time gallop of When I Woke Up Today. Bowen says he wrote the tune several years ago, but it never made it onto his previous albums. And he pokes fun at its contrast to some of his more subdued efforts.
"I think it's rare for people to hear a positive, up-tempo song from Wade Bowen, so that's one of the biggest reasons I wanted this song on there," he says. "I'm glad it's the first thing you hear on the record, because it sets a good tone for the entire project. It talks about the things that we go through in our lives … to chase after our dreams, and how difficult that is at times, but how it's such a reward as well."
There are a few melancholy moments -- the love-lost tale Welcome Mat, and the wistful Hungover, which is more of an emotional plunge than a boozy regret.
The album's closer, I'm Gonna Go, is a low-rumbling rock exercise, which Bowen calls "the best representation" of the loose feel of the record.
"We just kind of let it go," he says. "It's six-and-a-half minutes of pure rock 'n' roll, because we didn't want the song to end. We were having too much fun playing it."
Bowen's longtime buddy and frequent touring partner, Randy Rogers, says fans will be "very pleased" with the album.
"It's another step in the right direction of our genre, our scene, Texas music," he says. "Not everyone cares as much as Wade Bowen cares, and you can tell on this record."
Rogers and Bowen just finished recording an album with renowned producer Lloyd Maines that will be released next year. It's a mix of originals and covers, Rogers says.
The two go back a dozen years, but this marks the first time they've worked together on an album project. And just as he is for his new album, Bowen already can't wait to get his collaboration with Rogers in the hands of their fans.
"We joined our bands together and made what we feel is a superstar band," he says. "It's fun -- it's just friends hanging out and going to the studio. We're kind of going for a really old-school feel with this record. It's very different for he and I both. I'm anxious for people to hear it."