Family flows through the music of Goshen, IN’s, Wilson’s Reservoir. From the songs on their new record to the name of the band itself, kin and home resonate through their world. Named both after an actual reservoir in Georgia - primary songwriter Ben Wilson and his father cleared the land on which it is dug, and thereafter the family has always referred to it as “theirs” – and the family’s personal emotional reservoirs, the band’s expansive, indie-tinged rock music speaks to the heart while undeniably engaging the body.
After touring extensively behind their eponymous 2010 debut, the band decided to leave the hectic pace of gig life behind for a bit and bask in the easy rhythm of home. Every dog needs to run after a bit, and in the fall of 2012 the fellows decided to at least just get together and play a little, maybe just some jam sessions and a local show here and there. “After spending a few years thinking we had to make something of it, it was nice to simply play because we loved it and loved hanging out” explains Wilson.
It wasn’t much of a surprise to anyone when some new songs began to take shape. After a few demo sessions Wilson sent the songs over to longtime friend and producer Josh Antonuccio and started a conversation about recording. “The idea was always simple” says Wilson. “Don't take it too seriously, and let’s just make records and play when we want to.” Wilson’s Reservoir has decided they’re going to make music on their own terms, walking the middle path between road warriors and garage band, coming at creativity from a place of necessary pleasure. Such an idea might right a bit self-indulgent, if it weren’t for the dedicated crowds that attend every show the band cares to play.
The Last Will and Testament of Buck Baker is a concept record rooted in the echoes of that rhythm of home. “Mom told me of Great Grampa Buck Baker” says Wilson, “a vaudevillian known to entertain John Dillinger in the Kokomo, IN, area. Writing these songs, I imagined Buck singing them. He gave up my Grampa (Monte) after his wife passed away, when he was 3 months old. The record explores heartbreak, commitment or lack thereof, and warning future generations to not follow in one’s footprints. The final section of the record is Buck fighting with himself to find redemption. Yet he can’t escape his own nature, and by the end he’s back at his old ways. We all have a story. I met Buck once; yet his life has a lasting impact. Being a father I ask myself, what kind of legacy am I leaving behind?”
Recorded with Josh Antonuccio at 3 Elliot Studio in Athens, OH, The Last Will and Testament of Buck Baker features core band members Wilson (guitar, lead vocals), Andrew Martin (bass, backing vocals), Andrew Hauser (drums, percussion, backing vocal) and Rafael Chávez y Moreno (lead Guitar, keys, backing vocals) and guest musicians John Borchard (pedal steel), Ryan Brock (keyboard), Josh Antonuccio (piano, keyboard, guitar), and Alasha Al-Qudwah (strings.)
The Last Will and Testament of Buck Baker is a profound exploration of the generational effects on families and communities of the life decisions of the individual. Baker’s tale is certainly unique, but in a lot of ways is straight-up American history. An American man born with a surfeit of option and opportunity who decided to take a certain path and then had to live through regret and search for peace; perhaps an all too common story throughout the last two hundred some odd years.
“Our culture really pushes the idea of seizing opportunity” elaborates Wilson. “Often we end up forgetting that our decisions, even if small, have ripple effects throughout history. Who knows if me and my dad would have ever made that reservoir if Buck chose a different path in life? Maybe the band never meets and creates this record? Who knows... It's fascinating to contemplate the effect our elders had leading up to our lives, and being a father now, I see the importance of making decisions that will hopefully impact my kids and community in a great way.”
The Last Will and Testament of Buck Baker encourages us to research our own histories, to learn the amazing tales, both fact and legend, that shaped our lives. In doing so we will naturally reflect on our own journeys with new perspective, seeing ourselves not as lone wanderers but as filaments in the interrelated web of all humanity.
released November 18, 2016
Recorded at 3 Elliot Studios and Produced by Josh Antonuccio
Mastered at Peerless Mastering
Wilson's Reservoir "The Last Will and Testament of Buck Baker" is:
Ben Wilson - Lead Vocals, guitar
Andy Martin - Bass, backing vocals
Rafael Chavez y Moreno - Lead Guitar, keys, backing vocals
Andrew Hauser - Drums, percussion, backing vocals
Pedal Steel on Tracks 2, 6, 10, & 11 by John Borchard
Keys on Tracks 2, 4, & 6 by Ryan Brock
Strings on Track 2 by Alasha Al-Qudwah
Extra guitar, piano, percussion by Josh Antonuccio
"Two Rights" written by Ben Wilson & Josh Antonuccio
"Monte" written by Wilson's Reservoir & Josh Antonuccio
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