2017 CONCERT SERIES
Sitting over breakfast at Pete's Coffee Shop, Garrett Sale seems as low key and thoughtful as his music. Sale performs as William Wild, sometimes as a solo act, but more often with drummer Aaron Hill, and sometimes with as many as six other musicians.
On March 4, California-based Ramdm Records will release "Steady Now," a six-song EP, which follows his self-titled and self-released debut album.
Sale grew up in Knoxville and graduated from Bearden High School in 2010 and spent a few months in the band Yung Life before setting out to make his own album.
"I always knew that I might be by myself at times, so I wanted a name that sounded like a person," says Sale. "It also starts that conversation of, 'You know that's a band and there's no person named that?' "
The name "William Wild" came from a homeless man whom Sales had talked with on the street.
"I told him I was a musician and we kind of had this moment when he was telling me my future almost," says Sale. "It was really silly, but he told me his name was William Wild. I don't think that was really his name, but I thought the alliteration was perfect."
The first William Wild show was in Chattanooga. The act followed with a show at Knoxville's Preservation Pub and shows at the Square Room and the Rhythm N' Blooms festival. More often, though, the act performed out of town.
"I just wanted to keep the shows special," says Sale. "I kind of wish I'd played every weekend just to get better, but this worked out."
One song that stands out on the new EP is called "When I've Been Gone."
"The EP was pretty much finished, but for some reason it just didn't feel complete. I kept showing up every morning waiting for a song to pop out." What arrived was a song about the last time Sale saw his father, who was homeless while Sale was in college.
"I picked him up from the hospital and dropped him off at this homeless campsite. He was trying to get me to help him get into some rehab thing, because he was an alcoholic. This was after five years of trying to help him and I said, 'Hey, if you want to get better, you're going to have to do it on your own.' He died two days later. When I look back at the conversation, it kind of felt like he knew that was going to happen. But the song is from his perspective talking to me. The rest of the song is like him asking, 'Why did any of this have to happen? Why did my dad leave me when I was kid? Why am I leaving my son? Why am I an alcoholic?' And the main question is: 'In 50 years when no one can remember my name and no one knows what I looked like, why did this have to happen?' "
Sale says he kept trying to force the story to be something that wasn't there. "I wanted to come up with a reason why or how there was hope buried in the situation, but I just couldn't see it. Then I realized that that was perfectly OK. Things are what they are and to try and twist it to make it make sense just causes more pain than just kind of sitting with it and living with it."
He says finishing the song was the healthiest moment of his creative career.
"Since the EP has been finished I've probably written more songs than I have in my entire life. I want to have songs that have longevity. I'm just starting to tap into a part of myself that was untapped."
After the release of the EP and Sale's CD release show at the Bijou Theatre, he plans to get married and take a long trip through Europe with his wife. Beyond that, he says, he just wants to become a better artist.
"I want to keep growing. I want the gap between the music I make and the music I like to listen to be as small as it can be."