Updated: Apr 29, 2021
By Scott Roos
Our Grade: A
Stay Wild, the long awaited sophomore album from Prince Albert singer-songwriter Kayleigh Skomorowski, (aka the artist formerly known as Kayleigh Smith) is a sonically nostalgic romp through the psyche of an individual who has lived, loved, lost and learned to live again. Metaphorically wrapping you in a warm blanket of introspection, Skomorowski takes you on a highly personal journey. You feel every bit of Skomorowski’s longing; the desperate clinging to the triumphs in her personal life she worked so hard, in the ten years since her debut, to obtain via her family, work as a music teacher, and cherished friends.
Collectively, thematically and conceptually then, much of Stay Wild slots into a “Cat's in the Cradle” type vibe but, unlike the Harry Chapin classic, with Skomorowski there’s no regrets. For, unlike Chapin whose song longs for the relationship with children he never had, Skomorowski's parental relationship with her kids is on solid footing. She's more lamenting that her kids are growing too fast and fears the inevitable evolution of the relationship with them she's worked so hard to forge. It's mournful wistful and somehow joyous all at the same time.
Written during the long months of COVID lockdown in 2020, throughout Stay Wild, Skomorowski draws on a late 90’s/early oughts vibe capturing elements of “Women in Songs” era piano songstresses like Vanessa Carlton and Paula Cole with the vocal nuances of Jann Arden or Chantal Kreviazuk. Highlighted by Skomorowski’s unique gift for hooks and interesting, emotional turns of phrase, standout tracks include the energetic, pastoral musings of “Little Eyes”, the Stones-esque "Wild Horses" chorus of “Fly Away”, and the stinging emotions of “Hold This Moment’.
At the end of the day, thanks to the production skills of Joel Rohs at Tri Sonic Sound in Prince Albert, quality musicianship from a highly skilled supporting cast, on top of first rate arrangements of each track, Skomorowski with her songwriting savvy, has churned out what could be an early pic for NSMZ album of the year. Listening and working your way through this record, especially if you’ve perilously tried to parent your way through these COVID-19 days, will provide you with a source of comfort. Skomorowski, essentially in song, has voiced what many of us have gone through this past year but were perhaps too afraid to say
ourselves. It’s an album that deserves to be heard. It’s a historical document to be sure, but also stands alone as a great piece of art in its own right.