Artist: Wayne Merdinger: Lead vocals, acoustic guitar; Scott Leader: Acoustic guitar, keyboards and backing vocals; Adam Armijo: Electric guitar and acoustic Guitar; Joe Costello: Drums; John Hayden: Bass; and Sophia Prater: Backing vocals
EP: ‘Troubadour;’ Released: May 20, 2022; Produced by: Leader
The most natural relationships often leave the most enduring influences on a person’s views on, and ambitions in, life. That’s certainly true for Scottsdale, Arizona-based rock singer-songwriter, Wayne Merdinger, who memorializes his miraculous musical origin story that traces back to 1970, on his recently released six-track EP, ‘Troubadour.’
The classic-folk rock album is driven by Merdinger’s touching homage to the legacy of one of his most important musical influences and friends, Nebraska Bay leader, Carl Wilkenfeld. The duo, who first met over 50 years ago while Merdinger was a high school student, recently rekindled their friendship and musical collaboration after losing contact for several decades. As a result, the latter was able to craft a stunning tribute to not only his love of the classic rock genre, but also a common thread of insightful lyrics in his heartfelt ballads that are driven by emotional messages.
The ‘Troubadour’ record begins with its stellar title track, which is driven by a tight rhythm on polished guitars riffs. The song also quickly soars through its relaxed country-folk rock melody. Merdinger’s captivating tenor vocals also infuse the autobiographical lyrics with a sense of nostalgia. The singer croons about how he’s the eponymous troubadour, who has a lot to say about life’s at-times poignant moments. He also ponders his connections with the people he cares about during their most crucial times together.
‘Troubadour’s opening entry then transitions into its sophomore track, ‘Waiting For the Love,’ which was written about the current political situation in Ukraine, as Merdinger has Ukrainian ancestry. While the tune features a slower tempo in his vocals and on the acoustic guitar than its predecessor, he still perfectly emphasizes the importance of people uniting and protecting others around the world, even if they don’t personally know each other. Through soulful, soothing vocals, the musician reminds his listeners that the citizens of Ukraine are waiting for a fighting chance of survival, with the help of others who can protect them.
‘Waiting For the Love’ is followed by the EP’s third entry, ‘Poison,’ which is driven by darker instrumental tones and messages. Merdinger criticizes how the media and public sensationalize what’s happening in society, and he no longer wants to hear the titular poisonous lies that are being spread on television and the internet. The singer vows to take a stance against the naïve and ignorant lies that meddle with common sense on the vital song that’s a powerful reflection on modern society.
Another noteworthy entry on Merdinger’s new album is its closing track, ‘It’s Gonna Be Okay,’ which offers another important life lesson, as it reflects on how parents need to let their adult children go freely into the world. While he encourages parents to continue caring about their older children, he also reminds them that they have to make their own decisions as they embark on their own journeys.
Inspired by the music of classic-folk rock artists from the 1960’s and ’70s, ‘Troubadour’ is a stunning tribute to Merdinger’s love of the genre, as it features heartfelt ballads with insightful lyrics and stunning instrumentation. The tunes prove what a skilled storyteller and an inspired composer he is through his superb vocal delivery and guitar riffs that complement his repertoire.
The singer’s recently renewed friendship and musical camaraderie with Wilkenfeld also influenced him to craft songs that explore the complexities of relationships and how people treat others around the world. As a result, the EP proves to be an emotionally relevant musical collection that shouldn’t be missed.