Art after hiatus

The man with the best voice in rock is back.

Craig Wedren, former frontman and lead singer/rhythm guitarist for Shudder to Think, is making his first official return to the rock world in nearly 10 years with his new CD, Lapland.

“I just needed to take a break from rock records,” Wedren said. “I was pretty broken up after Shudder to Think ended. For me, the fallout was personally really unsettling. And I just needed to ‘feel it’ in the music again before I was ready to go out and do the whole make-a-record-tour-promote-the-record type of thing.”

With a velvet-like voice that sounds like a cross between Jeff Buckley and Rufus Wainwright, Wedren hasn’t lost a step. His new CD is an intriguing blend of rock, soul, electronica, folk and just about any other genre that you can think of.

“The whole album came about in a very simple way,” Wedren said. “I had a bunch of songs that I’d recorded on an acoustic and I gave the CD to Conor Oberst at a Bright Eyes benefit show that I was putting together. Conor dug it, and in a very Dischord Records type of way, he basically just asked me if I wanted to put it out on his new label.”

“So I went into the studio with Kevin March [ex-Shudder to Think drummer] and some other people and we cut the whole thing in just two days. Then I added the vocals and all of the textures and background effects at home, in my own studio,” Wedren said.

It’s a smashing success.

Now that the ’90s alt-everything phase has come and gone, Shudder to Think is one of the few bands that still sound truly unique, inventive and not dated. And much of that band’s sonic relevance is a testament to Wedren’s talent. He sings like nobody else. He writes vocal melodies like nobody else. And he understands what makes songs work and when to cut the fat.

Furthermore, Wedren’s soundtrack work on “High Art” was ahead of its time in blending electronica with atmospheric textures. As an artist who’s been making exceptional music ever since Shudder to Think’s 1992 Dischord-released masterpiece Get Your Goat, Wedren hasn’t lost a step.

“A lot of it comes down to confidence,” Wedren confessed. “And you just have to be obsessed with music if you really want to make great records. For a lot of people, it seems like it’s just an accessory, just something else that they do, along with working out or watching TV.”

And how does it feel for Wedren to be back out on the road?

“I just did some shows in the South recently,” he said. “And, I gotta tell ya, I walked away from it feeling so good. Happy. I didn’t realize just how much I missed being up there, performing. And now I know: It’s something that I’ve got to do. It’s part of me.”


Craig Wedren will be making a rare West Coast appearance at the Towne Lounge on Feb. 25 with The Dead Science. Mr. Wedren’s Lapland CD is out on iTunes and Team Love Records.