When it comes to an individual’s outlook on life and their aspirations in life, the connections that are the most genuine and authentic typically leave the most permanent impacts. This is certainly the case for Wayne Merdinger, a rock singer-songwriter based in Scottsdale, Arizona. On his recently released six-track EP, titled “Troubadour,” Merdinger chronicles a remarkable musical journey that dates back to 1970. After Wayne had spent more than 25 years creating songs and had been influenced by musicians of the 1960s and 1970s, his children pushed him to begin recording his music. His first studio album, titled The Music Lives On, was published in 2016, and he quickly followed it up with Behold the Invisible Man in 2017. Then he released Messages the following year, in 2018. Even though Wayne Merdinger’s newest EP, Troubadour, has a striking classic rock polish to its six tracks that is evocative of that 70s rock sound, the album’s real strength resides in its lyrical sensitivity and emotional profundity. 

In not just one, but two of the tracks that are featured on this EP, Merdinger pays tribute to his most important artistic influence. “Nebraska Bay” is named after a band of the same name that he became acquainted with in the 1970s as a teenager, while “The Train Song (I Saw You)” is a reconstruction of one of their songs. 

The album begins with the track “Troubadour,” which features shimmering guitars at a tense pace. From a classic rock perspective, folk-rock elements may be heard in the music’s texture and flow. The lines take on a wistful quality owing to Wayne’s masterful lyricism and soulful vocals. Merdinger, who is of Ukrainian heritage, was inspired to write “Waiting For the Love” by the political turmoil in Ukraine. He continues to emphasize the importance of individuals from all around the world banding together and looking out for one another. The performer’s voice is deep and calming, and it serves to bring home the point that people in Ukraine are still fighting for their lives.

“Poison” is the third track on the EP, and it has darker musical tones and more reflective lyrics than the first two songs. Merdinger deplores the manner in which the people and the media distort the truth, and he vehemently refuses to listen to the poisonous lies alluded to in the title. The present is as influential in his ideas as the song “It’s Gonna Be Okay,” which is a reflection on parents’ allowing their children to discover their own path in life, which involves letting them leave the nest and enter the real world to make their own decisions.

Nostalgia in this album is omnipresent, yet the present is just as powerful in its inherently introspective poetry. It’s a touching autobiography of the artist’s journey in life, commemorating old friends and past adventures. The graceful vocals of Wayne Merdinger crown the classic rock sound of Troubadour, which is replete with delectable bygone tastes. 

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