Those who lament the passing of the East Tennessee band called Glossary have reason to mourn their loss, given seven outstanding albums flush with a soulful southern sensibility. Happily though, they now have cause to rejoice as well, thanks to this third solo offering from one of the group’s original mainstays, singer/guitarist Joey Kneiser. Even while Glossary was on its roll, Kneiser was making music on his own, maintaining his penchant for tattered Americana ballads and overarched anthems that were still in sync with the mother ship. Not surprisingly then, when Glossary agreed to call it a day, Kneiser was perfectly postiioned to pursue his solo career full-time.
With The Wildness, Kneiser effectively returns to his roots, mining obvious influences that range from heartland heroes like Bruce Springsteen and Tom Petty to more archival outfits like the Band and the Burrito Brothers. Energetic and assertive at times, frayed and fragile at others, the songs are rich with evocative imagery, weariness and the occasional hint of dire desperation. The tender trappings of “Every Port in the Storm,” “Analog Rain” and “To My Younger Self” find a balance with the more tenacious tones found in songs such as “Run Like Hell,” “The Wildness” and the Petty-like rocker “The Good Ones,” making for an album that’s by degrees both fragile and assertive. The imagery is striking and evocative, borne by compelling choruses and more than a hint of a southern sprawl.
Ultimately it’s clear Kneiser has found his footing, a confidence stoked by his southern spirit and an everyman’s point of view. In a sense it finds him starting anew, still reckoning with the past while venturing forward towards the future