Wide Awake is a quintessential fall album. It’s rife with alt-country flavor, down-to-earth lyrics, and bit of dust and grit to polish things off. The album serves as Cory Breth’s third major release to date, and, while fall is already turning to winter in parts of the country, the timing of its release couldn’t be much better. It’s earthen, raw at times, but Breth’s lyrics are laced with hope and truth. There’s an equal mix of proclamations of faith and ruminations on life that keep things from feeling too cliché or forcedly-Christian; nonetheless, faith is an essential part of this album and Breth’s lyrics pull back the curtain of ambiguity in a way that other artists simply don’t.
But themes aside, it’s simply a refreshing album. While Breth calls Ohio his home, there’s a bit of Appalachia coating these songs. It’s difficult to pin the album to a single genre – singer-songwriter, Americana, and even indie pop are all appropriate given the song – but this is certainly a coffee shop album. Many songs are fairly barren, leaving room for Breth’s soaring voice. It’s a cozy, inviting vibe – one that brings listeners into the album’s narrative. This isn’t obscure poetry or abased pop; Breth’s sentiments are clear, albeit familiar. It’s relatable in an earnest way. Even with a consistent mood, the album packs in a few surprises liked sampled drums on “Chasing a Dream”.
Wide Awake is an album that is strategically-simple. Sure, it’s not heard to imagine some of these songs filled out a bit more with larger, lusher arrangements – but its current iteration serves its every-day lyrical content quite while. If you’re looking for an album that neither hides nor weaponizes elements of faith, there’s plenty to dig into here. Need a soundtrack to decompress? Cory Breth has you covered here. Wide Awake is like a comforting friend – it may not solve your problems, but it’s here to come beside you lovingly and provide reassurance you’re not alone in this mysterious and wild life.
Highlight tracks: “Feels Like Home”, “Kentucky”, “Anywhere in Between”, “In Color”