Southern Indiana-born, Nashville-based artist Stephen Wilson Jr. announced his debut double album søn of dad, out September 15 via Big Loud Records. Wilson also shared two new tracks from the LP: the grungy and discordant “Mighty Beast” and “All The Wars From Now On,” a jangly ode to Wilson’s elders. The album announcement follows the release of “Father’s Son,” a moving tribute to Wilson’s late father.
“‘Mighty Beast’ was a song that grew from the pandemic,” Wilson says. “An artifact from within a bit of a lost season. It has its share of religious undertones paired with satirical adrenaline. The song was these 2 verses and a chorus written with Ryan Necci right before the shut-down. More like a hymn in structure that became hi-jacked by the unnecessary monster it needed to become this song. And with an extra-unapologetic mindset at the time, the musical imagination freely ran wild with it.”
“‘All The Wars From Now On,’ was written for my late grandfather, a Korean War veteran who had his share of scars from the conflict,” Wilson shares. “The origin of the song came from watching a few war veterans at a diner in my hometown go about just like my grandfather once did one random morning. I couldn’t help but see him in their jovial conversations, and the thought hit me that the world would be a peaceful place if men like these were fighting all the wars. I knew he would see the honesty and humor in that scenario and enjoy the Norman Rockwell-ion approach to painting this song.”
At its core, søn of dad, co-produced by Wilson and Benjamin West, is a tribute to Stephen Wilson Sr., Wilson’s father who trained him as a boxer from the age of five and was himself a two-time Indiana State Golden Gloves Champion. Informed by Wilson’s wildly diverse background as a boxer, a scientist (he has a degree in microbiology and chemistry from Middle Tennessee State University) and a songwriter, the album is a cathartic and high-energy rock & roll journey that will be released exactly five years to the day his father died.
“Writing and making this album has been very therapeutic for me to learn who I am and what my existence looks like after my father. Because life has to go on,” Wilson says. “I’m living my own life, but it’s like his death bookended what life he should have had onto mine and I’m carrying it around like a train car.”
The new LP comes on the heels of Wilson’s Grand Ole Opry and Stagecoach debuts as well as his first CMA Fest performance which led Rolling Stone to call him “one of the most interesting artists to watch this year, a true original.” Under Wilson’s belt are dates with The Lone Bellow, Drake White and Charley Crockett, and still to come this year are shows with 49 Winchester, Joss Stone and Larry Fleet. He will also make his Red Rocks debut supporting Midland on Oct. 14. Find a full list of dates on his website.
Photo Courtesy: Tim Cofield