Alias Wayne Releases “Fubar” EP

Ranzel X. Kendrick, otherwise known as Alias Wayne, comes by his art honestly. The Texas native, now living in Costa Rica, is the nephew of country music legend Roger Miller, songwriter and singer of countless Nashville classics, and his early forays as a fledgling musician and songwriter are full of lessons derived from his uncle. He has since blazed his own path as an artist and a human being. The latest snapshot of Kendrick’s life and heart, a four song EP entitled Fubar, leads off with the single “Love One Another”.


It will uplift and comfort countless listeners. It is a testament to Kendrick’s awesome talent that he can pluck Biblical language and imagery wholesale yet make it sound like his own invention. Putting his own spin on familiar phrases and symbols prevents this from ever sounding preachy and it’s clear that’s not his intention. Another crucial element of the song is the presence of a second singer. Pitting his voice against a bluesy female vocalist gives the opener added impact. There’s little wonder why he chose this as a single for the EP.

“Father Song” has a darker tilt. His graceful guitar work and emotive vocal tempers the intensity, however, without ever diluting the performance. Strings fill in the song’s gaps and a light presence of percussion provides a ballast for the composition. It is one of the more intimate outings in this collection, but never remote or incomprehensible. It ranks as one of Fubar’s more poetic moments without ever losing the listener or reeking of self-indulgence.

Some may deem “Eight Ball in the Corner Pocket” as innocuous filler. It’s a superficial reaction. The loose inspired confidence of the performance is the province of a veteran performer who has long since refined his gifts. His songwriting instincts are as sharp as ever even in this setting. Evidence of that is apparent in the way he weaves brass into the arrangement and shapes it into an ideal partner for his guitar playing.

He brings the EP to a close with another fabulous song. “Window of My Soul” returns listeners to the poetic territory he stakes out with the earlier “Father Song” while still connecting with the listener. His skill at aiming higher than the average pop song with his lyrics without ever getting his audience lost in the weeds isn’t something he shares with many of his peers and contemporaries. Nor is his capacity for fitting surprises. The EP’s final surprise comes with the presence of woodwinds and the flute he threads through this song is arguably its crowning touch.

Alias Wayne is accumulating a growing discography and Fubar will likely endure as one of its greatest achievements. To pull off something this lasting and substantive in the space of four songs signals that Kendrick is an artist gifted with the ability to separate the wheat from the chaff. It has served him well to this point and will stay a hallmark of his art as long as he records.

Chadwick Easton


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