From beginning to end, Emily Wolfe’s self-titled debut album is a continuous stream of pure, badass rock ‘n’ roll. With this phenomenal record, she makes it unapologetically clear that she deserves to be in the same category as Gary Clark Jr, Alison Mosshart, and Jack White.
Based in Austin, TX Emily Wolfe has been performing for years developing her voice, sound, and masterful guitar skills. She’s been releasing music since as early as 2014, and this self-titled debut album is a collection of songs both old and new. She enlisted the help of Ben Tanner (the Alabama Shakes) to produce the album and together delivered a record that shows both where’s she’s come from and where she is bound to go in the future.
With a simple kick drum beat and a tantalizing guitar riff, the album opens up with “Violent Veins”, which quickly evolves into an explosive intro track immediately showcasing Wolfe’s vocal and guitar skill.
The album moves right along into “Holy Roller”, one of the main singles and easily one of the most infectious tracks on the record. Emily Wolfe and her band gave a great performance of “Holy Roller” for Distiller which displays her effortless skill as a live performer.
“Rules To Bend” is a sultry blend of blues and alternative rock which delivers a dark, smokey tone.
“Medusa” acts as one of the grooviest tracks on the album and one of my favorite vocal performances from Emily Wolfe. In an interview with Guitar Center, producer Ben Tanner described “Medusa” as
“Medusa” was a song we weren’t too sure about, but decided to record it and see where it might fit. When it was done, it came out awesome.
“Swoon” is one of the oldest songs included on this full-length album. Emily Wolfe originally released it in 2014, but it still stands strong as a fantastic song that she performs with effortless confidence.
“Bad Behavior” is one of my favorite songs on the album. It has an Alison Mosshart / Dead Weather vibe to it and just exudes cool. The driving guitar riff accompanied by the periodical punches of the full band are all woven together by Emily Wolfe’s incredible vocals makes this a standout track on the album.
“Missionary Son” just makes you want to get in a car and put the pedal to the medal. Simply put, it’s high energy, fast tempo, undeniable rock ‘n’ roll.
“Hazy Days” offers a fun and more animated alt/pop moment on the album. Emily Wolfe and her band gave this great performance of “Hazy Days” at City Winery in NYC.
Possibly the most badass song on the album goes to “Atta Blues”. The song builds and builds until Emily Wolfe unleashes both her voice and her guitar towards the end, infusing a raw grittiness into the album that takes everything to another level. Such a great song.
“Heat of the Moment” is another highlight song on the album. This song has such a satisfying groove. In between her slick guitar riffs, Emily Wolfe shows off some of her vocal range with one of the most dynamic vocal performances on the album. She and her band gave another excellent performance of “Heat of the Moment” to Distiller.
“White Collar Whiskey” is a clear stand-out song on the album and one that I think shines a bright spotlight on Emily Wolfe’s skills as a songwriter. In an interview with Guitars Exchange, she described “White Collar Whiskey” as
I actually wrote that song at a desk, while I was working as a receptionist at a construction company. So the lyrics are about my job and how much I didn’t feel like I belonged there. It wasn’t were I wanted to be. So I got home, poured a glass of whiskey, and put the music to it. I released it previously but it wasn’t the right arrangement, but I paired up with the producer Ben Tanner who brought it back to life; so I would say that’s my favourite song on the album.
The album wraps up with “Steady”, a smooth, silky blues song that serves as a final reinforcement of Emily Wolfe’s skill as a writer, singer, guitarist, and artist. It’s an excellent track to close the album and one that gives the listener an expanded understanding of Emily Wolfe’s artistry.
Emily Wolfe’s self-titled album is an excellent debut that fully displays her immense talent. She’s already developed a phenomenal repertoire and I’m sure that as she continues to grow she’ll become even more of a force to be reckoned with.
Emily Wolfe release date: 02.15.19 | Label: self-released