Luke Wade And No Civilians

Tomorrow's Ghosts (Blue Smoke Records)

You know that awkward feeling you get when a white college bro plays something "funky" on an acoustic guitar, and at first you think they're joking, but then you start to realize they're serious about it? That's how much of Tomorrow's Ghosts, from Fort Worth's Luke Wade and No Civilians, will make you feel.

Which is too bad, because Wade's dramatic and breathy Ray LaMontagne-esque delivery and the light-rocking pop arrangements with the faintest hints of R&B and soul obscure some lyrics that, while occasionally delving into overwrought relationship melodrama, are also well-crafted and compelling at times. Also, horny. Not that randiness and thoughtfulness are mutually exclusive.

"Quiet As You Can," about a furtive bedroom rendezvous, is a good example of what he does best and worst. The lyrics are sexy and mysterious and subtle, with smoky horns adding some muscle to the arrangement, but guitar wankery and Wade's melodramatic gasping drive the song into cheesy territory.

The rest of the disc is much the same, an intermingling of promising songwriting and schmaltz.

 
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22 comments
AggieRob
AggieRob

While pieces of this review ring true (Luke does have a Ray LaMontagne quality to his voice, but I would say it's closer to, say, Gavin DeGraw), I would say that "cheesy" and "schmaltz" are not words I would use to describe this effort.

The CD seems a bit uneven (there are some fantastic tunes, like "Normal Love" and "This Fire", but there are also a few clunkers), but there is some VERY serious potential here. The band's sound is a bit unique, yet at the same time feels familiar (due to tried-and-true arrangements and Luke's vocal style).

I saw them live at HOB a few nights ago, and I had never heard of them. I was also a bit shocked by the horns in the band to start with, but they fit. They work.

This band is great in person. I highly recommend catching them in the metroplex, finding songs you like, and picking those off of iTunes (or buying the CD at the show -- so you know the proceeds go right back to the band).

Bottom line: they are solid, and have a unique sound. Check them out.

nocivilians
nocivilians

You be the judge... Compare the album(below) with the review(above) and tell us what you think!

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Slong
Slong

This critic has lost total credibility. Luke wade is a true artist. Did i mention he can play guitar and sing like nobody's business?

Kelly Pipes
Kelly Pipes

Seriously, you need to listen to it again with more of an open mind and see if you feel the same way. This is a great album but you obviously don't recognize greatness.

mistyd
mistyd

who in the world is Jesse Hughey anyway? jesse..you must not know of love..you must of never experienced that feeling with real raw burning emotions...good or bad...and you must not have a very observant ear when it comes to soul touching music..not only the music but also as well the lyrics. do you know who billie holiday is? i would not believe so.. but im very sure you know who justin bieber is...? luke wade is a unique and original artist..not a cookie cutter pop band.

Aaron
Aaron

It's amazing when a critic can pass judgment so quickly on an album that has been a work in progress for just shy of a decade. Granted, the current line-up of Luke Wade and No Civilians is young but the songs have undergone many identities.

I have recordings of Open Ocean, Changes, and Ghost on a Wire from Mr. Wade's previous musical venture Hurt Street, and I speak the truth when I say there is a story behind every song, and each of these songs has evolved. Luke has stripped these songs down to bare bones and dared to expose vulnerability. He has purified them through fire. All that remains is that which is most significant. Sheer brilliance, if you ask me.

The reference to "schmaltz" is obviously one of no experience. These songs were crafted on experience. Years of touring, traveling, practicing, fighting, sacrificing, and grabbing life by the balls has gone into creating these songs. This is not a disc of material that was penned in an afternoon and produced into oblivion.

There is no "overwrought relationship melodrama" here, either...only truth. There is no levity in this album. There is, however, true passion and embrace of emotion.

So I say to you, Jessie Hughey, you are too quick to pass judgment on an album since you have not done your due diligence as a journalist and actually dug deeper to explore the inspiration for these songs.

R.E. Davis
R.E. Davis

Wow, there was really nothing constructive in this review at all. You don't raise any good points or arguments; you just kind of spew out some pretentious rhetoric (sort of like I just did in this sentence.)

Luke puts a lot of heart and soul into his music, and Tomorrow's Ghosts is a great example of his (and the rest of the band's) raw emotional expression. You can hear the influences from a lot of blues, rock and jazz roots....but none of it is an emulation, it's as genuine and real as it gets. I'm sorry it doesn't follow some formulaic, major-label science of whatever you may consider good music. For the rest of us who are still human and can listen with not only our ears, but our hearts and minds.....this was a damn excellent CD.

PS--

Using "wankering" in your review doesn't make you a witty critic, just saying.

John Jacob
John Jacob

Jesse Hughey is spot on with his depiction of "a white college bro" getting "'funky' on an acoustic guitar". But Luke Wade transcends any negative connotation this might imply. His song crafting & musical stylings have matured incredibly over his time in the North Texas music scene, culminating in his most recent release Tomorrow's Ghosts, which is egregiously misrepresented in this review.

Tomorrow's Ghosts is a fantastic observation of how fallible relationships can be. Some tunes focus on the immediate function of love: the heat, the passion, the pain; others express a more broad view of the lifespan of relationships: beginning and ending again.

Musically, this album is defined by one term: space. So much room for the instruments to express all they have to say with so few notes. Most songs were crafted on acoustic guitar but in the recordings are carried by the percussion section ("Strangest Angels").The electric guitar parts hold back until the right moment, speaking only when spoken to ("This Fire"). Horn parts were written & recorded by the best cats in the metroplex and it shows. They are at times punching with R&B roots ("Open Ocean"), at other points haunting with cinematic magnitude ("Save Her").

Its incredible, with all the instrumental layering, the musical structure stands unobstructed & the songs remain uncluttered. Credit for this feat is due largely to producer/multi-instrumentalist Nick Choate of Blue Smoke Studios.

While the author of this erroneous review, Jesse Hughey is busy lamenting the injustice of Justin Bieber being snubbed at the Grammy Awards, I'll be getting laid thanks to the luscious jams featured on Tomorrow's Ghosts.

THANK YOU LUKE WADE

Kaye
Kaye

This article definitely gives a poor misrepresentation of the album. The first time I listened to it, I was completely drawn in to the emotion woven through each song. Being in the music biz, I deal with a lot of stereotypical singer/songwriter wanna-bes- he is certainly not one of them. Melodramatic is not a term I'd use to describe any part of this album. In fact, "Quiet As You Can" is one of my personal favorites, as well as any woman you see at his show requesting it. It may not be the style of music you enjoy, but it's not a waste of $10.

Sam-laverne
Sam-laverne

Oh and Bj's Brewhouse is one of your music recommendations, maybe that is why you wrote a review so bad. They brew beer not make music, you drink beer, you hear music.

Marshalldallas
Marshalldallas

I think Luke's music is great! The guy that wrote this review in my opinion is bitter and picks on the 1st musician that appeals to women more then men. Frankly, Luke's music helps me get laid and in my opinion, that's priceless, lol!!!!! Seriously, people have said the same abiut Micheal Bolton, Kenny-G and even Dean Martin but, they sold millions of records and made alot of chicks horny. Listen to Lukes CD and see for yourself, then you'll have it in your car when your having that make-up conversation on the long-drive home from a fight....then you'll get laid!!!! JB

Sam-laverne
Sam-laverne

Wow, what kind of music do you like then sir? Luke is one of the most talented young musicians I know. I know a lot and have seen a lot. Your points aren't even valid and have no substance. It is a bunch of mumbo jumbo words with no direct dislike. I think maybe you just like to hear yourself talk and are one of those guys that likes to one up everyone.

Nicole
Nicole

I think this review shows why I prefer Quick to The Observer any day. Thumbs down to this review and a big thumbs up to Luke Wade. His lyrics and music are very inspirational.

Treetimesamady
Treetimesamady

This guy is in a band called Trinity River Folk I think. Check em out, this is their web presence: (hah)

http://www.facebook.com/pages/...

I have been listening to Luke's music for years. He truly cares about what he does and puts an incredible amount of energy into his work. I understand some people don't like certain music... But this story is just uninformative and frankly mean. I searched and for some reason this is the sole review of this album on the Dallas Observer. And I haven't been to a Luke wade show this past year where there were less than 100ppl. And this band is new. So he must be doing something right.

Come on Observer... If you are going to write a review about someone's work, and if it's negative... At least make sure it's written by someone that writes over a high school level.

moved
moved

How disappointing that you felt so unmoved by the cd. I have been a fan of Luke's for a little over a year now, and never tire of listening to his music. Luke can make songs I never liked before sound good, from Zepplin to Coldplay. I have to agree with the first comment. If you're taste in music is as lacking as your ability to write an article, is there anything decent you DO like?

Manbosquez
Manbosquez

I am not going to complain about your writing style or call you any bad names. I completely understand that when someone is tearing up the Fort Worth scene that you are obligated to appear too cool to enjoy it. Just between you and I though.....I bet you can't stop listening to the CD over and over again right? Each song just gets better and better every time you hear it...but yes from the Dallas perspective this guy needs to spend a lot more time trying to be cool instead of on his music.

Debbie
Debbie

Luke Wade is AWESOME!!! HORRIBLY WRITTEN REVIEW!!! The writer's own inadequacies are displayed!

Wontcheck
Wontcheck

This seems like there's a vendetta over this guy. Aside from that, this article is not well written. If you spent as much time critiquing the album as you aparantly did writing this "article" then I'm not going to trust your judgement. Fooey Hughey.

Luke Wade fans
Luke Wade fans

Ridiculous. Luke Wade is a brilliant song writer and singer. Plus, he's backed by some of the best musicians in Ft. Worth. Harsh words. Ft. Worth loves Luke Wade and No Civilians.

Alyssa Underwood
Alyssa Underwood

As a college student myself, the awkward feeling you speak of when talking about a college "bro" such as Luke Wade, doesn't exist. Tomorrow's Ghosts is a fresh approach to music and songwriting as opposed to the usual twangy Texas Country Randy Rogers wanna-be's that frequent bars and pubs across the DFW area. As for the gasping, Ray Lamontagne-esk voice you say is too dramatic, I say has women having to change their panties by the end of the song. The voice is what gets you, as well as the soulful, real-life experience lyrics. While comparing Luke's voice to Ray's might be your attempt at a compliment, I think Luke is giving Mr. Lamontagne a run for his money. I say bravo Luke, keep doing what you're doing. As for you Jesse, whoever you are, I recommend buying the new Justin Bieber album. It seems more your style anyway.

Mr. Robison
Mr. Robison

Maybe John Jacob should write for this publication as this is what a "review" is supposed to look like. Actually explaining the music, movements and lyrics and not just a quick synopsis of why the "author" doesn't like it. Go back to school and be a college "bro" and double up on journalism classes as to attempt to be a quality writer before you try and explain what a quality/professional/sincere musician is saying with what I believe to be a wonderfully mastered, deep and entertaining album.

 
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