Wandering Rebel Tour
There’s freedom to be found in consistency. Until recently, Juan Wauters may not have agreed with this statement. As a touring musician and multinational citizen, transience had always come naturally to him. Circumstance, however, recently prompted him to reconsider the benefits of staying in one place: “During COVID I discovered / that I like stability,” he muses on the title track of his new album, “but the world still sees me / as a wandering rebel.” His most introspective work to date, Wauters’ sixth solo album Wandering Rebel finds the artist taking stock of how he’s changed, how the world sees him, and what he wants out of life.
From his early days as a founding member of Queens-based garage act The Beets to his impressive solo career, Wauters has spent the better part of the last decade on the road. When he wasn’t touring or recording, he was gathering material, traversing Latin America to write his 2019 Spanish-language opus La Onda de Juan Pablo, then heading North to collaborate with friends like Mac DeMarco, Homeshake, Nick Hakim and more for 2021’s boisterous Real Life Situations. Apart from intermissions in his home base of Jackson Heights, Queens, Wauters has been notoriously hard to pin down.
Throughout Wandering Rebel, Wauters attempts to reconcile the stability he’s come to enjoy with the nomadic restlessness that’s characterized his life thus far. In the end, though, it’s the interplay of both of these elements that makes the album so strong. Though it’s marked by introspectivity, it was recorded in classic Wauters fashion, with numerous collaborators on trips to New York, LA, Brazil and Argentina. At the same time, its cohesion is owed to a period of reflection that’s only possible in repose. Wauters’ moments of honest self-reflection lend depth to his penchant for playful musical experimentation, while his ever-growing network of collaborators across the globe add nuance and fluidity to his songwriting.
For a brief period during the writing process, Wauters spent a month alone in a remote Uruguayan beach town, armed with only an iPad (which he charged using a solar panel) and his thoughts. In the end, only one song from this stint made it onto Wandering Rebel (“Mensaje Codificado”), but somehow the entire album feels as if it’s written from this vantage point: an artist, back in his home country, looking out at the world and considering the life that’s led him there. The album is anchored in Juan’s signature Latin-influenced indie folk.