Pete Wilke - Down
Peden, CSO Staff Journalist
said lawyers donít have a sense of humor? Pete Wilke, who
pays the bills using his law degree, and fuels his creative
passions with country music, hits the funny bone early with
the opening lines to geographical homage in the liner notes to
Down From Montana.
born or raised in Montana, "tells the legal adviser to
independent film-makers. "I probably wonít die there
either, unless I go pheasant hunting with Dick Cheney."
Well, that had
album made me think.
For a guy whoís
sartorially regal, prim and proper, oozing syllable rich from
his legal web site (www.pwilkeindieatty.com), Down
From Montana offers distancefrom the faÁade and
gristle of law. The gavelís gone, replaced with a guitar.
The Armani suit flung for worn Wranglers. And cold legalities
come replaced with a mateís view of life and love, all
shared with mellow honesty. Itís a personality revelation
Wilke morphs into easily.
The album only
took one play to grab my attention. It only took two plays to
hook me. And with only three plays my early advice is obvious
Ė this oneís a keeper. Wilke is a singer of substance. Heís
lyrically sound, offering common and honest insights into
cracked lives, losers with big thirsts, and the steady comfort
of worn and reliable boots. He may be corporate, but his
cowboy heart beats loud.
Move beyond the
opening track, a respectful rural nod to Montana, where Wilke
defies the grammatical with "counteereeeeeee" as a
lyric (it rivals Reba for fractured vowels) and you soon hit
music he calls brown grass. He calls it traditional country
with a twist.
Has Struck Again", where a tongue-tied male offends
rather than comforts, is sure-fire radio fodder. With Wilkeís
Down From Montana Band, a neat and tight five piece combo with
a leaning to fiddle and steel, the tune brings band, singer
and writer well into the spotlight. But rather than Wilke
being a dud with an album of only one, possibly two repeat
tracks, the surprise comes when you hear tunes like
company and this tune, fiddle propped and harmony rich, tells
of a loner, lost and brooding, down on his luck and looking
for acceptance with strangers. Itís sad. But look out into
the crowd on any Saturday night anywhere and youíll see the
lonely, fingering an empty glass. A refill would be nice. A
friend would be better.
Already Taken The Fall" and "Iíll Never Stop
Crying" are hurtin and achiní fare, while "My
Hornback Cowboy Boots" (an album standout) tells of the
losing side of life for a guy whoís ducking and weaving,
saving his sanity with the only thing of which heís certain
Ė his old hornback cowboy boots. And reflective thoughts are
passed on down, as a dad ponders aloud to his kid: "I donít
know what I will do/ When you move away/ Could we pause and
savor this/ Maybe you could grow up/ Some other day..."
Again, Wilke brings style, honesty, and a depth in his voice
and lyric that warms and wins.
We came in
asking who said lawyers donít have a sense of humor. On the
closing cut, Sweet Talkiní Man", Wilke proves he
has...or heís brave. "Get offa my back and roll onto
yours/ I donít wanna hear about me doiní no chores/ Take
the young Ďuns to school/ Fry me some eggs/ Get in the
bathroom /Start shaviní your legs..." Itís a party
tune, has to be, right?
For a late in
the year arrival, Pete Wilke, the corporate cowboy, has found
himself on my most played list. He sings in a mellow,
unobtrusive way; he writes in the understood language of the
working man and his melodies are made for campfires.
His board meetings must be fun.
Click on the CD cover to order yours!
1. Down From Montana
2. The Fool Has Struck Again
3. Show Me the Way
4. Barstool Cowboy
5. I'd Already Taken the Fall
6. I'll Never Stop Crying
7. My Hornback Cowboy Boots
8. Don't Grow Up Too Fast
9. Locked Up in the Big Sky
10. Sea-tac Airport Nightmare
11. Just to Help the Moment Pass
12. Sweet-talkin' Man