Brett Wiscons to release new album in July with songs that offer hope in darker times
Indianapolis-based roots rock/pop singer-songwriter Brett Wiscons is set to release his new album, Late Bloomer, on July 13, 2022, via Wiscons’ own label, MAD Diamond Entertainment. A labor of love created with mix engineer, producer, and collaborator Thom Daugherty (The Elms, The Band Perry), Late Bloomer was born of trying times, yet a silver-lining mentality ended up permeating the songs on the record. “I just wanted to offer hope in a seemingly hopeless situation,” Wiscons, who is also a five-time author, says of the genesis for this album. “These songs wouldn’t have existed without the kindness of my Kickstarter backers, and I wouldn’t have written some of them if it hadn’t been for the global pandemic.”
Well before the pandemic hit, Wiscons had an idea for a song called “Late Bloomer” in May of 2019. The song, which became the title track of the forthcoming album, was released as a single in February 2020. In July of 2020, “Late Bloomer” appeared on the soundtrack for the new “NASCAR Heat 5” video game on Xbox and PlayStation.
With the song out in the world, Wiscons and Daugherty hoped to record a full album by the same name, and an extremely successful Kickstarter campaign – fully funded two weeks into a 30-day campaign – scored 137 backers and raised $22,000, giving them the necessary means to achieve it. The pair planned to get to work in mid-March of 2020 but were unable to due to the pandemic. By May 2020, they started working remotely, writing lyric and song ideas and passing them back and forth via text and email while communicating through the Marco Polo app.
“Social distancing forced us to write the entire thing remotely, even though we only live 15 minutes away from each other,” says Daugherty. “That ended up being an asset instead of a liability, though. Brett does his best work late at night, and I’m a morning person, so I would wake up to new lyrics he’d written, and something about his narrative would suggest a mood, a tempo, a rhythm. I’d grab my guitar, send over what I heard in my head, and we’d volley it back-and-forth without feeling pressured or constrained by time. That approach seemed to help us home in on ideas that were better than the ones we’d come up with before in-person.”
While Daugherty, who produced, mixed, and performed on the album (guitars, bass, mellotron, background vocals) and Wiscons teamed up in-person eventually at Daugherty’s home studio in Indiana to record huge chunks of the album, the pair was joined remotely by Niko Albanese (drums); Steven Potaczek (keys, accordion); Mark Bryan (mandolin); Megan Campbell, Rachel McGoye, and Sarah Scharbrough McLaughlin (background vocals); Craig Shields (saxophone); Seth Jenkins (slide guitar); Kadell Randle Jr. (keys); and Mark Evitts (string arrangements), who filled out the instrumentation on a number of the tracks. Dan Shike mastered the album.
Two of the songs were directly influenced by the pandemic and lockdown: “Walk Talk” and “Vertical City.” “I was feeling all sorts of emotions during that time; anxiety, fear, doubt, and worry seem to be the ones that stuck around the longest,” Wiscons says, “but then hope started to emerge. Seeing news footage of a desolate New York City with empty streets and sidewalks was the beginning of the song ‘Vertical City.’”
News topics and emotional responses laced other tracks, and the songwriting pair also tackled what happened to George Floyd in Minneapolis (“When You Can’t Breathe”), parenthood (“Let’s Do it Again”), and wishful thinking (“French Café”). “You really hear all of the influences Thom and I grew up with come out in these songs,” Wiscons says. There are shades of The Beatles, Pearl Jam, Eagles, Jackson Browne, and Hootie & the Blowfish all over the songs on the album, but with Wiscons’ unique spin on things making it feel fresh and new.
In addition to “Late Bloomer” already being out in the world, Wiscons has released a series of singles from the album, including “October” (October 2020), “When You Can’t Breathe” (March 2021), and “Vertical City” (May 2021). (“Vertical City” was also included in the “SRX The Game” video game soundtrack in 2021.) He plans to share the song “Let’s Do It Again” before the album comes out via a music video set for release in mid-June 2022.
Born in Chicago, Wiscons moved to the state of Indiana in the early 1980s, where his parents exposed him to an array of artists in his formative years, including The Beach Boys, Eagles, and Sade. His music career officially started in high school, and multiple bands began and ended then and while he was in college at Marian University in Indianapolis. During their prime years between 2002 and 2008, his band, Great Scott!, toured throughout the Midwest and released original music. Wiscons always had a day job, with music relegated to “weekend fun,” but he continued to aspire to make music his profession. Finally, on May 1, 2008, he kissed corporate America goodbye and began his endeavor to be a full-time artist. A duo, The Michaels, formed with his friend Jon Shoulders, led to two original EPs and shows throughout the Midwest and East Coast. After five years of relentless gigging, the pair decided to call it a career.
Wiscons had a choice to make – go solo or go back to a 9-to-5. There really wasn’t a choice. One of the first things he did was reach out to Mark Bryan from Hootie & the Blowfish. “I knew the Hootie guys were on an extended hiatus, and Mark had produced a few records that I really enjoyed, so I asked him if he’d produce my debut solo record,” Wiscons says, remembering the guts it took to ask that question. “He kindly accepted.” What followed were writing sessions in Awendaw and Charleston, South Carolina for the two-time Grammy winner and Wiscons. He released The Heineken Sessions Deluxe in 2016 via Captain Beardo Records, which garnered Wiscons some national airplay for the songs “Don’t Be the One” and “SarAZona.” “I am grateful to Mark for taking me under his wing and propelling my solo career for a long stretch of time,” Wiscons says. “Mark was even kind enough to lay down a mandolin track on the new album.”
Wiscons has always been a bit of a road warrior, and he has had the honor of sharing the stage with a vast array of international and national touring acts, including Jon Bon Jovi, Jimmy Buffett, Darius Rucker, Zac Brown Band, Katy Perry, Collective Soul, LeAnn Rimes, Tesla, Rick Springfield, 311, Tonic, Lifehouse, BoDeans Trace Adkins, Hootie & the Blowfish, Sister Hazel, and Will Hoge, among others. In April 2019, he was hand-selected to perform on the Jon Bon Jovi “Runaway to Paradise” Caribbean cruise. He has performed in 26 states, on hundreds of stages, playing over 3000 gigs. The music he has written and recorded has appeared on Australian television, Triple-A Radio, and the international smash hit “Tony Kornheiser Show.”
Wiscons plans to tour in support of Late Bloomer, and he has already confirmed a handful of dates with more to come. Fans should check Wiscons’ website and socials for tour updates. Confirmed shows include:
6/9/22 – Wabash, IN – Eagles Theatre (w/Billy Bob Thornton)
7/1/22 – Indianapolis, IN – Live @ the Orange Bridge
7/10/22 – Chicago, IL – City Winery Chicago (album release show, “Brunch with Brett”)
7/13/22 – New York, NY – Rockwood Music Hall (album release show)
7/30/22 – Plymouth, IN – Arts in the Street
7/31/22 – South Bend, IN – Potawatomi Summer Concert Series
9/24/22 – Indianapolis, IN – USA Today Wine & Food Experience
10/1/22 – Louisville, KY – USA Today Wine & Food Experience
10/22/22 – Clearwater, FL – Wiley House Concerts
11/4/22 – Indianapolis, IN – venue TBD (album release show)