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Two-year road trip inspires new album
David Wilcox performs Friday in Buford
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0724Wilcox-Right On Time

"Right on Time" by David Wilcox from his new album "Airstream"

What doesn't kill you will make you stronger.

Which means that, after surviving two years driving around the country in an Airstream camper with his wife and then-12-year-old son, musician David Wilcox ended up with an album of strong, introspective music.

Wilcox will perform songs from his new album, "Airstream," at 37 Main in Buford on Friday. He said he'll perform with no set list, letting his musical Rolodex and the vibe of the crowd dictate which way the music moves him.

The panoramic vistas of national parks and the quality family time allowed Wilcox to tread in much deeper subjects for this "Airstream" album, he said in a recent phone interview. The song "Three Brothers," for example, tells the story of Middle East turmoil; "Falling for It" takes a stab at political deception.

But despite these intense subjects, the musical arrangements are simple and subtle - just one man and his acoustic guitar.

"There is a whole sort of voice and guitar arrangement to them," Wilcox said. "The songs are about coming home, and I don't mean a home in a house, I mean a home in this life."

And while on first listen the music sounds a bit melancholy, Wilcox added there's an undercurrent of learning and of living life.

"There a song, ‘Perfect Storm,' that's looking at things we might call adversity in life," he said. "That's where our teacher shows up. That's where life shows us what we can become."

And not only did the retro camper help inspire the songs on the album, but it also turned into the recording studio once it was time to make the album.

Wilcox said he liked the idea of having the album recorded in the trailer, too, so they hooked everything up to see what it would sound like and, well, "For these songs, for this kind of cozy feel, it sounded great."

That's also the feeling Wilcox said he'll be going for on Friday night.

"Music has been a real wake-up for my heart," he said. " ... When I'm playing for people, I'm really focusing on where we are right now. I want to play the songs they need."

The trip in the Airstream allowed for lots of time for conversations, singing around campfires and getting to know people. And all of that helped construct the songs for the album, he said.

Plus, it was good for family time.

"We were out for two years, and it was a lot less music and more just being with the family. It was an amazing thing," he said, adding that it was also a good way to keep a solid relationship with his son, now 15. "I really think that skipping the seventh grade was crucial to keeping his heart open."