Recording information: The Practice Place, Fruitland, WA (1979-1981).
Photographer: David Black .
For most of us, our teenage years simply get left behind, becoming nothing more than memories for us to reminisce about as we move forward in life. For brothers Donnie & Joe Emerson, two brothers from Fruitland, Washington, their past has caught up with them in the most unexpected way. Although they did all of their recording in a homemade studio on the family farm in the late '70s and early '80s, their recordings didn't take root with a wider audience until 2012, when their self-released vanity album, Dreamin' Wild, was remastered and reissued by Light in the Attic. While that album, with its hazy blend of soft rock and soul, could be written off as a fluke, their follow-up, Still Dreamin' Wild: The Lost Recordings 1979-1981, shows that the album was no accident. Featuring just 12 of the songs the Emersons recorded during a prolific two-year jaunt in the studio that would see them record nearly 70 tracks, the album is possessed of the same magic the pair imbued their debut with. Despite being written by two fairly isolated teenagers, the album captures the universal feeling of yearning and heartache that come with youth. Separating the album from the Emersons' debut is its sense of adventure, with Donnie and Joe dabbling with new wave (though who knows if they were even aware of it at the time). If Dreamin' Wild was the brothers' attempt to get their music out to a wide audience, Still Dreamin' Wild is them unselfconsciously following their creative muse wherever it took them. Without really trying, Donnie & Joe Emerson were working on a "classic" sophomore album that tinkered with the formula of their more or less unheard debut. With so much material still unreleased, it'll be interesting to see where their musical odyssey ended up. ~ Gregory Heaney