Morgan Wade burst onto the American scene shortly after releasing his debut album Thirty Tigers in March 2021. Reckless, one of the first records produced by Sadler Vaden of Jason Isbell & the 400 Unit, sold 3,000 copies in its first week and climbed to number 14 on the Billboard Table of the best heat seekers.
In August 2021, the Floyd, Va. native signed a record deal with Sony, and her rise in mainstream country radio continued. She re-released her debut album with six additional tracks in January 2022, including a new single, “Run,” and a cover of Elvis Presley’s “Suspicious Minds.” That success has landed her on a busy touring schedule for the rest of 2022, which includes shows with country radio stalwarts like Chris Stapleton and Riley Green.
Reckless was an album that took nearly four years to fully realize its potential, and it’s one of the biggest country debuts of the past decade. While Wade recorded a rare collection of songs with The Stepbrothers before launching his solo project, The boot will focus on the latter for the purposes of this list.
Read on to see our picks for Morgan Wade’s top 5 songs, so far:
Like many of Reckless, “Last Cigarette” focuses on themes of addiction, but it masterfully blurs the lines between addiction to vices and addiction to love. While “Wilder Days” was the track that introduced most of Wade’s songs to the world, “Last Cigarette” is perhaps the song that best showcases what his debut album is about to do for listeners.
“Correspondences and Metaphors”
Reckless was co-produced by Paul Ebersold, who was partly responsible for creating a very specific and unique Southern rock sound that took hold in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Ebersold produced records for Sister Hazel and 3 Doors Down, and has also worked with crossover Christian rock bands like Third Day and Skillet. On this track, that influence is clear, especially when the song comes full circle, ending with the same chorus it started with.
“It’s raining at my place / Is it raining at your place?”
“When the Dirt All Settles” is one of the tracks added to the Reckless re-release, and it hints at new possibilities for Wade’s sound to come. The song was co-written by Jaren Johnston (The Cadillac Three) and Sadler Vaden, and opens with a rousing guitar strum reminiscent of Elliott Easton. It turns into a single big pop chorus.
“Ooh ooh like June and Johnny / Ooh ooh like Clyde and Bonnie / We run like rebels in devil’s dust / It’s you and me baby when the dirt sets in”
“The Night” was the first single Wade released as a solo artist. The track hit streaming services in 2019, two years before it was omitted from the track list of Reckless and three years before it was included in the deluxe reissue.
Lyrically, it clearly centers around her young struggles with addiction and lays the groundwork for the story she would later share in her full debut. Fighting demons is often more difficult at night, and this fight is the centerpiece of this track.
“It’s the gun and the bottle / It’s the drugs and it’s the accelerator / It tells me that they gon’ make me feel alive / I know very well that it won’t help me / I just pray for a night’s sleep”
Morgan Wade has a long career ahead of her. However long this journey takes, it will always be hard to deny the track that first caught the ear of AAA radio, then landed her a major label deal and led her to success. mainstream country.
“Wilder Days” is all about timing. Sometimes we don’t meet the people who were in our lives earlier, during times that were teetering more towards the edge of disaster. But it’s also fun to imagine what that reunion might have looked like.
“You said you hated the smell of cigarette smoke / You only smoked when you drank / When you lived in Chicago / I don’t know where the wind blows / I wish I had known you in your wild days”