Musically speaking, Evan Sandy might be the hardest working man in Florence, Alabama. To the locals, Sandy is known for being both a perfectionist and a workaholic, as well as for being humble to a fault. Between working multiple jobs and drumming in countless bands including Oribi, Slugworthy, Loggerhead and Satan’s Youth Ministers, Sandy has spent the past few years quietly crafting one of the most emotionally resonant releases to hail from the Shoals in recent history.
When “Terracotta Man” by Sandy’s solo moniker, Wide-Eyed Reverent, was finally released earlier this year, many in the community were in total awe of what Sandy had created. The piece is an odyssey of sorts, taking the listener on a sequential journey seen through Sandy’s imagination; a musing on the wonder of human consciousness and the world at large.
According to Sandy, most of the tracks were recorded in the wee hours of the morning, after he got off from working the night shift at Lowe’s around 4 a.m. The entire project was recorded and mixed in the home of his friend and local producer, Greg Scheske, while Jamie Sego of Portside Sound mastered the four tracks.
Sandy is the sole instrumentalist on the album, contributing vocals, drums, bass and piano all his own. This creates a level of precision not surprising coming from someone with such exact tendencies as Sandy, however, the uninhibited vulnerability and overall honesty are what truly strikes a chord somewhere deep within the human psyche.
the sole instrumentalist on the album, contributing vocals, drums, bass and piano all his own.
Each track ebbs and flows from one moment of inspiration to the next, creating the sense of someone otherworldly — opening eyes, learning to walk and speak, feeling around for what is tangible for the first time all while experiencing epiphany after epiphany. The four tracks are between seven and fifteen minutes long apiece and are deliberately cohesive. Still, varying degrees of excitement, profundity and emotion are exhibited throughout.
The lack of guitar in itself differentiates it from other prog-rock outfits, showcasing Sandy’s talent on both piano and drums along the strange and beautiful journey “Terracotta Man” takes the listener on. However, “Terracotta Man” is also lyrically brilliant, peppered again and again with poignant lines such as “when will we see past our eyes,” “I foresee you lifeless, strangled by our atmosphere,” and “I’m curious why, why we would deny the gift of flight?” Lines full of childlike wonder that are sung in earnest, often layered with vocal doubles and harmonies; details that accentuate the bits Sandy finds most important.