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DLC Week of 11/30: Cecilia Castleman and Wednesday

Cecilia Castleman “It’s Alright” and Wednesday “Bath County” exist on the edges of genre boundaries – and we’re all luckier for it! These adventurous recordings are *good* (damn good), and that’s what matters! Both are available this Thursday in the Rock Band Music Store.

When Nashville-based singer/songwriter Cecilia Castleman dropped the single “It’s Alright” in the summer of 2022 it was a confident statement of intent from a young artist: in no uncertain terms, the track established her as one to watch.

Launching with twangy, fingerpicked electric guitar, “It’s Alright” is instantly immediate, stark, atmospheric, and up-close. At 29 seconds in, Castleman’s voice first appears and it’s an angelic, dreamy sound that draws the listener even further in. This is intimate, deeply personal stuff – and that’s before we even get to the lyrical content (don’t worry, we’ll circle back to that soon). At 1:11, we reach the first verse and full instrumentation kicks in with pulsing bass, casually swaggering drums, and tasteful background vox. As catchy refrains go, this one is up there with the most attention-grabbing of recent years. Are there tinges of country? You betcha. But you’d have to be deaf not to pick up on the rock, alt, and pop touches here and there. The second verse mirrors the first, but this time with accompaniment. Following the next go-round of the chorus, “It’s Alright” segues into an extremely tasty break at around 2:50, complete with a note-perfect, laid-back guitar lead that just exudes confidence. We then return to the sing-along refrain before another lovely lead guitar line walks us to the satisfying conclusion at 4:04.

As for the lyrics, “It’s Alright” is a declaration of autonomy, a declaration of control. The repeated call out throughout each chorus could be taken two ways: suggestive of confidence in the assessment that, indeed, everything will be all right, or willful self-delusion – “fake it till you make it”-style. When the song was released, Castleman shared on social media that, “’It’s Alright’ is a song about freedom, about independence, and wanting to step out of the norm and do your own thing.” In broad terms, she thinks of the songwriting process as sending letters to oneself: “It’s reopening and sticking some stacked pile high in the corner of my room, just waiting for the letter of acceptance – the one that hits the feeling you you’ve always been chasing… that’s when you have a good song.”

With “It’s Alright,” it’s safe to say Castleman captured that feeling she’s always after!

From Wednesday’s third album, 2023’s Rat Raw God, “Bath County” is an adventurous, confounding mystery of a single. Singer/guitarist Karly Hartzman is a keen observer and her lyrics simply ooze empathy, honesty, and authenticity – perfectly matching the brilliantly scuzzy-yet-sophisticated soundscape of the track.

Quietly strummed guitars and Hartzman’s voice kick off “Bath County,” with the rhythm section gradually joining the picture just before the 20-second point. After a slow-burn build, at :53 the cut reaches the first chorus and it’s all fuzzed out guitars and now-bashing drums and aggressive bass. From there, there’s a good deal of alternating quiet/loud dynamics – and, really, when doesn’t that device work? Speaking of “quiet,” at 1:46 all instrumentation but the bass and drums fade, shining the spotlight on Hartzman’s voice (and lyrics) before, at 2:16 the intensity builds to overloading-the-VU-meters levels. Distorted voices pair with maxed out vocals for the remainder of the track, wild and unhinged guitar and lap steel dueling for attention, until we reach the feedback-drenched (and, presumably, sweat-drenched) conclusion at the 3:10 mark. For the entirety of “Bath County” these Ashville, North Carolina indie/country rockers put on a clinic. Wednesday – lead singer/guitarist Hartzman, lead guitarist Jake Lenderman, lap steel player Xandy Chelmis, bassist Ethan Baechtold, and drummer Alan Miller – defy and ignore any boundaries of genre while showcasing some impressive musical chops. The whole thing is quirky, challenging, down-home, big-city, and much more – and always with an innate understanding of, and respect for, melody. Imagine “country music” viewed through a grunge lens and you’re almost there. 

As for the lyrics, it’s a hodge-podge of stream of consciousness observations. “This is a song I wrote on a porch in Bath County, Virginia when me and Jake [Lenderman] were visiting Jake’s mom’s hometown,” Hartzman shared upon the single’s release. “It includes some imagery I saw on that trip…” “Bath County” is a paean to the underdogs who may just not see the downside in such a station, a ragged tribute to the funky, ugly, funny, messy, and amusingly complex aspects of life that may not make for an inspiring “Best Life” social media post, but which define a good 23 hours (at least) of most folks’ 24 per day. 

Wednesday had a major breakthrough into the (almost) mainstream with both “Bath County” and Rat Saw God and both are deserving candidates for song and LP of the year. Get in on the action, so you can say you were on board with the band before they got *huge*!

Cecilia Castleman “It’s Alright” and Wednesday “Bath County” are now available as DLC. Both can now be yours for $1.99 each.

  • Cecilia Castleman – “It’s Alright”
  • Wednesday – “Bath County”

VIDEO: Rock Band 4 DLC Week of 11/30: Cecilia Castleman “It’s Alright” and Wednesday “Bath County”



*Please note that this week’s DLC tracks will be available for purchase on Thursday, November 30th.