It's an apt title. After all, it's been some 15 years since Greg Wickham was last heard from, an eternity in most entertainment realms, but especially lengthy as far as making music is concerned. If he had in fact left this world, none but family and friends would be the wiser.
Happily then, Wickham's return becomes something to celebrate, an album of Americana originals that recalls his previous work with the short-lived Hadacol, the band he co-founded with his guitarist brother Fred at the dawn of the millennium.
As if Wickham's reemergence wasn't good news enough, "If I Left This World" marks a Hadacol reunion of sorts, one featuring not only Fred Wickham, but also bassist Richard Burgess, another band member back in the day. Not surprisingly then, the album, which features all but one Wickham original (a snippet of his late father singing Marty Robbins' "Big Iron" is also included), sounds a lot like Hadacol, thanks to its blend of assertive sounds, rousing revelries and vintage honky tonk. Wickham's one to rally the masses, and the enticing sing-along chorus of "Me Oh My," the upbeat entries like "Wake Me Up," "Lou" and "Ain't No Way To Love You," and occasional mournful ballads such as "Elsie' Lullaby" and "Small Roles," all point to lessons learned while he focussed on his family in the years he was away.
Ultimately, "If I Left This World" serves a welcome reminder of a sound that was well represented when Wickham tapped it the first time around. It was honest and evocative then, and every bit as compelling now, and indeed that combination of edge and authority still works remarkably well.