Wick, a project of Greenwood native John Wick, Franklin native Andrew Gustin and a collection of family and friends, perform selections from their new album, “Forest” on Sept. 30 at Fountain Square Brewing Co. in Indianapolis.


The songs came together in a dormitory room more than 20 years ago.

In 2002, John Wick was living in Forest Quadrangle, one of the residence areas at Indiana University Bloomington. In between classes and general college shenanigans, the Greenwood native spent hours crafting musically simple songs on his acoustic guitar, which nonetheless proved to be a meaningful insight into his first year of college.

“It’s that time in your life when you’ve been living with your parents, and you’re finally free to live on your own. It’s a pretty crazy, exciting time, a creative time,” he said. “Writing music was something I started to do more passionately at that time, and stuck with.”

But the project was lost over time. Wick never anticipated recording them.

Now, a lifetime later, those songs have been reborn. Wick, now a southside Indianapolis resident, has released “Forest,” recording new versions of the old songs with fellow family members and friends in the eponymous band. The 10 songs have proven to be a bridge in time, linking Wick’s college days with his current life as a nearly 40-year-old husband and father.

The music blends impressively introspective lyrics with infectious elements of pop, rock, doo-wop and more. For those involved, it has been an unexpected revival and a callback to their youth.

“It’s come to more than ever expected, but it’s been a lot of fun,” Wick said. “We’re a little bit older, a little more mature. We all have families and jobs and things that keep us more grounded. It seems like it’s working better.”

Wick remembers being a freshman at Indiana University and finding his voice through music. He had written a number of songs on the guitar, and decided to digitally record them in his Forest dorm room.

This was before the days when everyone had advanced recording apps on their smartphones; Wick used the record function on his computer.

“I just used the computer mic, and more or less they were just acoustic guitar and my vocals,” he said. “They started out real stripped down, really simple versions. But the songs were there; the structure was there.”

Those songs were just a step on Wick’s musical journey. By the time he neared the end of his college career, he had become friends with Andrew Gustin, a Franklin native and fellow IU student. He and Wick often ran in the same musical circles, and were in a band together.

Even after graduating college and moving to Indianapolis, they continued to perform in another band, The Dwellers. The band performed extensively and recorded some of their songs.

“We worked really hard, and was really trying to make it at that point. We didn’t have kids, we were just going for it,” Gustin said. “But then life kind of moves on. John and I remained friends, but weren’t playing music together.”

But the project that would become “Forest” was jump-started in the past couple years, when Wick reconnected with Gustin. He had the demo songs he had recorded in his dorm room so many years ago on a burned CD, and his idea was to have the songs professionally recorded to give to friends and family for Christmas. Gustin was taken aback.

“The original recordings were just him and his voice on a laptop microphone, really basic,” Gustin said. “But my mind is constantly moving, and I heard these songs and thought they were just brilliant.”

Gustin is still active in the local music scene, performing in bands and organizing projects among other Hoosier musicians. The Franklin Community High School graduate is the founder of Ameliorate Records, which focuses on capturing the transcendent sounds of Gustin’s home state.

Inspired by Wick’s writing, Gustin went to work. He learned the songs, and created new arrangements around each piece.

“I started listening to these, and thought there was no way we were just going to do recordings for family and friends,” Gustin said. “I learned them all by ear, and put together brand new arrangement.”

The result was the formation of a new band, known simply as Wick. Besides Gustin, the band is populated by those close to Wick and Gustin. Wick enlisted his sister Katie Jones to share co-lead vocals, while two songs on “Forest” feature their older brother Ian Wick on background vocals. Another brother, Dan Wick plays guitar on a song.

Rounding out the lineup is drummer Dan Johnson and bassist Eric Brock, both close friends.

“We wanted it to be more of a family thing; I’m not even the best singer in my family,” Wick said.

Ameliorate Records has pressed 275 limited edition vinyl editions of “Forest.” Two singles from the album — “Angel Baby” and “On a Thursday” — have been featured on 92.3 WTTS, a major central Indiana rock station, by music journalist David Lindquist. They’ve also performed a few shows around Indianapolis, including a concert for Big Car Collective and a gig at Fountain Square Brewing Co.

To celebrate the release of “Forest,” the group has put together an album release show on Dec. 2 at The Church Within, a nondenominational church in Fountain Square. While Wick will perform, they’ve lined up some other local favorites to play with them, including Geodize and Gentlemen Caller. The band will be an all-ages show starting at 4 p.m.

“We had that band together for all those years, and in a way it felt like we never made it. We never released an album, so we wanted to do this,” Gustin said.



What: A new album by Greenwood native John Wick and Franklin native Andrew Gustin, together with family and friends, reviving old songs Wick wrote 21 years ago as a student at Indiana University.

How to hear it: Portions of the album can be found at amelioraterecords.bandcamp.com/album/forest, and people can preorder vinyl versions as well.

Album release party: Wick will host an album release party for “Forest” at 4 p.m. Dec. 2 at The Church Within, 1125 Spruce St., Indianapolis. Local bands Geodize and Gentleman Caller will also perform.