Review by Gary Allan, Country Star
Review by Mike Grimes, Owner of Grimey's Music and The Basement
Lost love, lost weekends, bitter regret. Wilder Embry mines familiar terrain for the songs on THE BOTTLE, but he does so with a tragic sweetness and a cinematic eye for detail. Singing about divorce court, an overnight with a rockin’ three year-old niece, or an altered-state afternoon at Six Flags, Embry’s soaring, sweet-sad voice is like hearing Roy Orbison make his confession after a week-long bender.
Sam Van Hallgren
88.9 radio milwaukee
A native of Gainesville, Wilder has played all over the US and although his style has been described as a sour mash of Neil Finn, Roy Orbison, Ron Sexsmith & Rodney Crowell, on this record its closer to Springsteen & Jesse Malin. Wilder began early playing with his Dad's band on tenor guitar upside down, being that he is left handed, and playing in bands since he was 11.
His third release ‘The Bottle’ follows previous releases 2005’s ‘Your Sweet Heart’ and 2008’s ‘Squander’ – on this record the backing band consists of John Lancaster (Freedy Johnson) on keyboards, David Steele (John Prine, Lucinda Williams) on guitar & mandolin, Keith Brogdon (Josh Rouse) on drums, Dean Tomasek (Tommy Womack) on bass, Smith Curry and Rachel Proctor. Produced by Justin Tocket and recorded in the House of David studio in Nashville.
Nine self penned songs plus an interesting cover of Leonard Cohen’s ‘Famous Blue Raincoat’ – familiar territory in many ways but worth further listens reveal that Wilder Embry is an astute songwriter and his own man when it comes to song writing, best demonstrated on the stand out song here ‘Turn To Stone’.
Maybe The Bottle Rockets & Reckless Kelly mine the same turf, but there is plenty of room for Wilder.
"Like Ron Sexsmith, Embry manages to sound hopeful even when he's singing about heartache. Squander is a record full of brilliant observations about what it's like to go to sleep a child, only to wake up an adult. Like the best art, it makes you sad, it makes you laugh, and best of all it makes you take stock of your own life. Songwriting this good should not be ignored. And Embry has recruited some incredible musicians to sweeten some of the sadness. Try "Rubberband", "Mommy" or "Kitchen Beautician". Listen twice before making final judgment. Like Sexsmith, Embry's tunes go down so smooth the first time, you may not realize just how potent the cocktail is."
Sam Van Hallgren
88.9 radio milwaukee
great lyricist. killer set
If you live here in the acoustic-guitar-strumming capital of the world (universe? galaxy?), you can reach the point where just the thought of one more gentle strum is enough to send you into convulsions. But when I first heard the demos for Wilder Embry’s upcoming album Smolderoldingpictureaid, I was struck by how fresh his guitar accompaniment sounded. A few clicks of the mouse later, I discovered that he plays his late father’s 1957 Martin four-string tenor guitar. And as a left-hander, he plays it upside down (as a kid that’s how he started), which puts a chime-like emphasis on the higher-pitched strings that suits his warm, slightly raspy vocal delivery. Embry’s 2010 The Bottle was a solid dose of introspective folk and roots rock that garnered comparisons to Ron Sexsmith and Tim Finn and earned him new fans such as country star Gary Allan and Kings of Leon’s Caleb Followill. The largely acoustic demos for the new record have a delightfully intimate, organic vibe that lets his fine singing stand front and center — particularly the mid-tempo groover “Don’t Go Mad,” the delicate ballad “Pretty Things,” and “Sound,” featuring the kind of catchy, lilting melody you start humming after one listen. Embry has a Kickstarter campaign for Smolderoldingpictureaid that runs through the end of Christmas Day.