The mysterious but uber-talented emerging singer/songwriter known as Beware Wolves must think very highly of his ability to engage the hearts and minds of listeners with his unique array of infectious narratives, dynamic acoustic guitarisma and soulful vocals. When we say “array,” we mean that he’s probably the first artist in history to use streaming as a realm to literally release his entire 81 songs (4.5 hours of listening) over nine volumes in a single month (August 2022).
Story goes that he delivered his unique archive as a “rogue” email to Safe Harbor Records at the end of 2021. It’s hard to estimate the commercial possibilities of the epic amount of tunes from this deeply prolific manic expressive, but Beware Wolves (and his label) make it easier for us to immerse by creating an introductory 11 track self-titled sampler (as opposed to titles like Beware Wolves, Vol. 5) that introduces us to his eclectic vibes, emotive vocals, crisp, rhythmic string playing with a sampling of some great representative songs.
Besides some rhythmic variety on guitar and unique vocal modulations (“Badsome” has a Roy Orbison rockabilly tone, “Rather Be Fishing” more of a classic 70s harmony vibe, “U.S. Mail” simply a sweet folk-rock hypnosis), the set’s refreshing mix of immediacy/warmth, rawness and space/distance comes courtesy of the intuitive genius of award-winning Don Bartley of Benchmark Mastering (Crowded House, Split Enz, Ray Davies, Silverchair) in Sydney, Australia.
When Bartley, feeling more inspired than overwhelmed with the task of bringing Beware Wolves’ sheer volume to a higher level, says, “I have to say the songs are fantastic with heaps of emotion, nice playing and an interesting variety,” he could be talking about any of these 11 gems – or even all 81. Other tracks that make solid entry points into these fresh dances with wolves include the plucky, swampy “July,” the garage- raw romp “Torrey Pine” and the dreamy, easy loping “Whiskey Dreams.”
As we learn that many of these recordings were the first and only time these songs were captured – and that in many cases the songs were penned the day of the recording – we realize we’re in the presence of a special artist. Worth the time to listen to all 81 songs? Time will tell.