(First published in the October 31, 2019 issue of City Pages)
After taking a break, the local band that made it big returns to Wausau for an album release show Dec. 14.
Windsor Drive from 2015. Their new album Young One will be released in early December.
The members of the band Windsor Drive are the musical princes of the Wausau area. Starting as a teen band in 2006, they came up through the local scene playing churches, youth shin digs, family friendly festivals, and so on. They were nice guys and cool about it. Their original music was incredibly emotional, but never angry. And then they were off playing across the U.S. and in Japan, they moved to Texas, and were working with big names in the industry.
After logging hundreds of concerts and several recordings between 2010 and 2014, Windsor Drive faded out as a performing band. Now they’re coming back with a new album and homecoming concerts Dec. 14 at Whitewater Music Hall.
The guys had good success. I remember when they got a clothing endorsement, and we all lost our minds about that. Then they went on and worked with a guy who works with Paul McCartney, and a bit of everything from Ryan Secrest, to signing a deal with a large management company, to releasing an album on a Japanese label. My favorite Windsor Drive accomplishment is when they played the Vans Warped Tour.
“We really like the process,” bassist Jon Wasleske says about their new release, Young One, due out on Dec. 6. “Writing songs, especially when we are in different places and different places in our life is a challenge.”
Vocalist and keyboardist Kipp Wilde now lives in Nashville writing music for the band. The rest of the guys live in Texas, with drummer Owen Jones raising a new child.
Young One simply fits well in the Windsor Drive catalog. The guys talked about how the music writing was different this time. “Kipp wrote a lot for the record on the guitar, rather than the piano, and that changed the sound and emotional push for us,” says Wasleske.
Honestly, I didn’t hear that. This is still a piano-keyboard-synth record through and through, catchy and poppy, and full of all sorts of hookiness that made Windsor Drive so successful in the first place. The lyrics and the stories don’t show a lot of tonal highs and lows, but instead it’s all shifts within the lateral lines of the songs. It’s not the traditional up and down of rock and roll, but something else entirely.
That’s probably a reflection of their new lives as mature men, full of new influences. Real life as they say has found them.
Their Dec. 14 show in Wausau will be their first performance since 2017, and the only scheduled concert they have planned. Expect the place to be packed.