"søn of dad" Is A Touching Introduction of Stephen Wilson Jr.'s World into Country Music
Updated: Sep 20
If you thought Stephen Wilson Jr. song, "Patches," tugged on your heart–strings, then you are in for a rollercoaster for his double album, søn of dad as every song on this album digs deep into his personal life ranging from Wilson’s inner demons and grieving with the loss of his father.
søn of dad is a rich album filled with elements of Southern rock, classic country, that harmonizes and contrasts well to the chaos that is at the forefront of Wilson's life.
Much of his songs not only tackle the loss of his father but also other elements of grief and conflict in his life with undertones of biblical elements to highlight the turmoil Wilson faces in this album.
Highlight from this album have to be “Cuckoo,” Werewolf,” and “Grief is Only Love”
“Cuckoo” has a catchy, fast beat, it makes you want to stomp your feet and clap your hands until you hear the depressive lyrics detailing how Wilson is feeling: “This world keeps shaking me, breaking me, making me as crazy as cuckoo.” “Things I can’t control (instrumental)... cuckoo.” Wilson is numb to the bad events that have unfolded his life and it is all the same to him as the “sun goes up, sun goes down we all end up six feet in the ground”. The contrast of a fun feel good song on the surface but it actually tells a story in Wilson’s life where he is very numb to the feeling.
The hook of “Werewolf” is an instrumental interlude that steadily strums from a violin but ever so gently grows with speed in between notes, with a padder of a drum that is merged with a guitar. It evokes a sense of curiosity that draws the listener in wanting more like a film. Wilson’s songwriting–along with his collaborators–does not fail with the first lines of the song that pack quite a thought provoking punch: “There is a dark side running around in me, kids should not see shit they shouldn’t see.” If that doesn’t make you stop in your tracks then maybe other lines would such as, “I ain’t here saying I made peace with the beast and I threw him in a cage the best I could. And I am no longer scared of the werewolf.” Wilson is brave in confronting his demons head on, recognizing it is not perfect or he is not healed, but it is the first step to move on from the passing of his father.
“Grief is Only Love,” relies heavily on a steady guitar strum with a soft drum beat that hums in the background. This comforting beat that runs through the song. Yet at about the one minute mark there is a build that begins and continues to climb throughout the rest of the song as if Wilson is physically picking you up on a journey–his journey but also your own–and you fly along for the rest of the song “as it grabs” a hold of you with lyrics that say “the only thing for certain is that it is out of your control,” as you listen to this song. And what is out of my control are the tears that pool at my eyes and steadily stream down my cheeks at the buildup of this song. Wilson does it so well with the carefully placed lyrics, his execution with drawing out notes in his raspy voice but also to draw back a lot and sing notes with delicate care. Listening to this song has become not only a unique experience but a sense of it is truly a phenomenon.
“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," Wilson Jr. shared in a press release.
These are just some examples of stellar and thoughtful songs of Wilson’s outstanding album and not a single song was a miss all around. søn of dad is an album that is truly a movement that is highlighted through powerful lyricism and brilliant melodies is an album that you do not just simply walk away from.