Every Monday through Friday, we deliver a different song as part our Song of the Day podcast subscription. This podcast features exclusive KEXP in-studio performances, unreleased songs, and recordings from independent artists that our DJs think you should hear. This week’s selections are chosen by Afternoon Show host Kevin Cole. Today’s song is “Manhattan Fault Line” by Steve Wynn from his self-released 2008 album Crossing Dragon Bridge.
Steve Wynn has been making music for a long time now. He’s been in influential bands (The Dream Syndicate. The Suspects), maintained a successful solo career, and performed with some of music’s greats (Peter Buck of R.E.M., Howe Gelb of Giant Sand, and on and on). Luckily for us, over the length of his sizable musical career, Wynn has never slid in to the creatively barren tundras of complacency. Instead, he has on each consecutive release continued to challenge and bewilder our expectations. His latest release, Crossing Dragon Bridge, recorded in Ljubljana with producer and Walkabouts bandleader Chris Eckman, features a slew of Eastern European musicians including an eight piece orchestra and a full woman’s choir as well as members of Green on Red, Teenage Prayers, and his own side project The Miracle Three. “Manhattan Fault Line” best brings together Wynn’s late-70s roots with his continued aspiration to evolve as a musician. Wynn’s voice rest somewhere between Randy Newman’s and Lou Reed’s, and the sincerity he’s able to inject in to this esoteric tale of his journeys from West to East Coast is throwback to the more emotionally in tune musicians of yesteryear. This sincerity is bolstered by a simple guitar, and you can almost feel the miles and years and stories that have soaked into Wynn’s voice over the last two decades.
Although, Steve Wynn has just wrapped up his European tour, he’s not yet done this year. You can catch him in New York, Chicago, St. Louis, and Los Angeles next month. Check out his website for more details. Here’s a video for “Manhattan Fault Line” that seems to have been shot during his recent tour: