Texas artist Wade Bowen is a seasoned songsmith who has been working in the country landscape since the early 2000s, but it wasn't until recently that he checked a dream collaboration off his bucket list.
The country-rock singer recently dropped his 12-song album "Somewhere Between The Secret And The Truth," which includes a duet with icon Vince Gill. CMT Caught up with Bowen to hear what it was like to record "A Guitar, A Singer and A Song" with one of his most prominent musical influences.
Bowen penned the acoustic-driven melody alongside world-renowned songwriter Lori McKenna. Together they cultivated a narrative that uncovers the unspoken truths behind being a musician and the mark every creative wishes to leave.
"A guitar won't change the world | But there's nights that I feel like it has | A singer can't put lonely in a song | Until he's felt lonely like that | Callused fingers, a poured out heart | And a dream much harder than you ever thought," delivers Bowen in the first verse. "But I know why I do what I do | Oh, and I'm in 'til the day that I'm gone | And I pray when they speak my name|That I live on," the two effortlessly blend their soothing vocals - creating a chill-provoking harmony.
Bowen told CMT that he initially recorded the track independently and sent Gill the demo with the expectation that he wouldn't hear back. In true Bowen fashion, he took a musical risk that paid off.
"I kind of had this song done, and then I thought of the idea of having him come and sing on it. It was kind of a shot in the dark. I was like, 'take a listen and tell me what you think. You're one of the biggest inspirations behind this song. Hopefully, you hear that,'" the vocalist recalled. "He agreed to be a part of it! It was just a magical experience all around and still is," he added.
Bowen credits his three sisters and mother for his deep appreciation for country music and Gill's impressive repertoire, as they shaped his creative mind very early on in life by dragging him to concerts.
"I grew up with sisters and a mom who really loved country music. My entire eighties and nineties were filled with them dragging me around to concerts. They took me to see Alabama and George Strait," Bowen explained. "Then in the nineties, it was a lot of Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson, Travis Tritt, and of course Vince Gill," he pointed out.
When Gill jumped on board and was willing to join forces, he said it felt like a full-circle moment. Once he received the final cut of the duet, he surprised his family to see if they recognized a familiar voice.
"I actually played them the track without telling them that I got Vince to sing a duet with me. When he started singing, they instantly knew who it was and just freaked out. We listened to it about five times in a row," he shared while laughing. "It's just a dream come true. I've met him before through the years. He's always been so kind and sweet."
Wade continued to praise the chart-topping artist and detail what it was like to work hands-on in the studio. He said he admires the Hall of Famer for his savvy artistry and his overall character. While working closely with one another, Wade utilized the precious time to pick his brain.
"I can't say enough great things about him. Not only about his talent, but as a person. He is just very open to younger artists. When you say, 'you really believe in this? What do you think?' He kind of jumps on and believes it too. His songwriting and the way he sings is so passionate, so intense, and believable," he acknowledged. "He has such an incredible sense of humor to go with it, and I love that. He's a special kind of person."
The cutting-edge artist with a traditional storytelling soul would like to rub elbows again with Vince and hopes the poignant ode "A Guitar, A Singer and A Song" is just the beginning.
"I look forward to doing more with him and learning from him. He really is an inspiring guy. Hopefully, we will continue this relationship and get closer. I think we'll be best friends when it's all said and done," he jokingly expressed.
Bowen brought the weighted lyrics to life and seamlessly captured the true perspective of an artist in the music video for "A Guitar, A Singer, and A Song." Throughout the state-of-the-art clip, Bowen shares old photographs of country legends that played a vital role in shaping the genre. Dolly Parton, Loretta Lynn, Don Williams, The Judds, and more are placed on a pedestal.
"I tried really hard with this song to show the good and the bad of what we do, and why we do it… At the end of the day, when I lay my head down, it's just me, my guitar, the songs I write, and the songs I sing," Bowen articulated in a statement. "That's really all it comes down to, and no matter how long or short your career is, that's what you're gonna end up with. I thought to myself, 'man, I hope that I do enough in my career, however long it may be – I hope I do enough where people don't forget me."