Wild Rivers

Photo credit: Stefan Kohli

Folk-pop foursome Wild Rivers effortlessly blend exquisite harmonies with impassioned songwriting and bring it all to life with a captivating live show. After spending the majority of 2019 on the road, highlighted by 150-plus shows to packed audiences across North America, the band set to work on their 2020 EP release, Songs To Break Up To [Nettwerk]. 

For its recording, Wild Rivers retreated to Nashville, where they worked with producer Skylar Wilson (Rayland Baxter; Justin Townes Earle; Joshua Hedley) to expand their sonic palette by further incorporating synths, guitar effects, gang vocals, and choral harmonies. The theme of the EP was inspired by co-lead vocalist/guitarist Khalid Yassein facing the dissolution of a long-term relationship in 2018. The result is a striking six-song EP that transposes personal experiences into relatable anthems woven from strands of folk, indie, rock, pop, country, and beyond.  

In August 2020, Wild Rivers shared a heartfelt and inspiring video for EP single “Thinking ‘Bout Love” featuring Voices of Our City Choir, the San Diego-based non-profit organization created in response to the current housing crisis. The band had previously announced plans to donate $1 from each ticket sold to their 2020 tour to the organization; their global “Where We Left Off” tour, which included sold-out dates and upgraded venues, was postponed due to Covid-19. 

Now, Wild Rivers shares a new track called “Pink Shades,” which marks the first time the band has recorded, engineered and produced a track themselves. 

Khalid explains, “The initial melody for ‘Pink Shades’ came from one of many late-night jam sessions when the band was temporarily living together in a house in Echo Park [Los Angeles] at the end of 2019. It always felt kind of special and important.” He continues, “In April, after our album production in Connecticut was cut short due to the pandemic, we all returned to Toronto, and I returned to ‘Pink Shades’ and wrote all of the lyrics in one sitting. I sent it to the band, who I hadn’t seen in three months—the longest we’d ever been apart—and we were all really excited about where this song could go. We had never self-produced or recorded a song. Not being on the clock at a professional studio, we were able to build the song out exactly how we imagined. It allowed us to take risks and spend time experimenting with new sounds and recording techniques. It was definitely our favourite recording experience to date and showed us that we could create new music from anywhere.”

Lyrically, “Pink Shades” explores the struggle of battling depression—a subject most can relate to in one way or another, especially in current times. Khalid says, “Throughout my life, there have been a lot of difficult conversations with loved ones where I was desperately trying to understand what they were going through. One explanation that really stuck with me over the years was that depression is like walking through life with rose-colored glasses, and when they come off, the world suddenly looked – and felt – different and unfamiliar. It’s about weathering life’s ups and downs, and (hopefully) helping someone who is struggling.”

Wild Rivers first caught attention with their 2016 self-titled debut, followed by their acclaimed 2018 EP Eighty-Eight, which has since surpassed 150 million combined streams on Spotify. Having supported artists like The Paper Kites, Donavan Woods and Jake Bugg, Wild Rivers has built a dedicated live following thanks to their charismatic stage presence as evidenced by sold out headline shows across North America, including major cities like New York, Denver, Chicago, Atlanta, Toronto and more. Wild Rivers is Khalid Yassein [guitar, vocals, keys], Devan Glover [vocals, bass], Andrew Oliver [lead guitar, bass], and Julien Laferrière [drums]. 

Wild Rivers performed at St. John’s United Church, Brockville on Saturday, October 31, 2020.