David Wilcox is a penetrating storyteller. The revered folk musician has an effortless talent for spinning lyrics that quietly cut deep, and crafting melodies that seamlessly ride the plot twists and turns. Wilcox handily exemplifies the power of lyrical and musical catharsis.
Pick any song from Wilcox’s new acoustic album, My Good Friends, and you will find yourself instantly immersed. Sometimes you’ll see yourself in the lyrics, other times you’ll marvel at the four-minute mini-movie. My Good Friends is a stripped-down, acoustic collection of ten songs, a fan-requested creative respite for Wilcox as he also continues to work on a full band album coming in 2024.
Of special note on the new recording is “Jolt,” with its jittery rhythm playing perfect backdrop to lyrics about today’s obsession with online fear mongering and internet disinformation. The title track is a folk-blues number about living a life filled with close calls and surviving them all. Then there’s a trio of story songs – “Dead Man’s Phone,” “This Is How It Ends,” and “Lost Man” – that are as cinematic as they are charismatic. Wilcox says those last three songs “create a whole movie in my imagination.”
In fact, the way Wilcox feels about every tune on My Good Friends proves this is indeed a fan-requested labor of love. “I am grateful for the community that sustains me – my good friends,” he says. “These are the kind of friends that get you through difficult times. The kind of friends that you go to for a fresh perspective when the future looks grim. These songs grew out of conversations with friends, and they hold ideas that I like to have around.”
Such dedication to honoring personal and heartfelt music has been the backbone of David Wilcox’s entire career. The Ohio native with the warm baritone found his artistic muse in North Carolina during the mid-1980s. In 1987, he released his debut album, The Nightshift Watchman, which led to winning the prestigious Kerrville Folk Festival in 1988. That translated to a four-album stint with A&M Records starting with 1989’s How Did You Find Me Here, which sold 100,000 copies by word of mouth. Thirty-plus years and twenty-plus albums later, Wilcox won top honors in the 23rd annual USA Songwriting Competition in 2018 for his effervescent “We Make the Way by Walking” from his last album release, The View From the Edge. Wilcox has deservedly earned praise over the years in The New York Times, The Boston Globe, The Los Angeles Times, and Rolling Stone, to name a few. He also has a dedicated and vocal core of fans who regularly write to thank him for his work and the impact his songs have had on their lives.
Today, Wilcox is still earning his admirers with storytelling that cuts deep into the soul and observes the human condition from both the nerve center and the outside looking in. That kind of storytelling is certain to become a good friend.