Music People

Local Native’s Song a Tribute to Those Battling Depression

after losing a close friend to suicide, E.C. native Elliott Wachs released new single, ‘Wish You Well’

Matthew Baughman |

YOU'RE NEVER ALONE. Local musician Elliott Wachs creates a single in tribute to his friend that passed away. (Photo via Facebook)

On Sept. 1, saxophonist Elliott Wachs finished recording "Wish You Well" and posted it to YouTube. The song is a tribute to Elliott’s friend Max Graham, a fellow musician, who passed away in March 2021.

Since learning of his death, Elliott had been working on his song to memorialize Max and ultimately speak through music for those who have lost someone close.

“He was incredible,” recounted Wachs, an Eau Claire native. “(If) push came to shove, if we were protesting at 4 in the morning, then he was down to wake up and come pick us up.”

Max Graham was a mandolin player for the Minneapolis “jam grass” band Kind Country, where he was constantly experimenting and incorporating new material into his music. Max and Elliott had known each other since 2011, when Max would find barn parties to play at. Max incorporated messages of accountability and Black Lives Matter (BLM) into his bluegrass music to bring awareness to parts of the bluegrass community too.

Later in his music career, Max tried more and more to incorporate electric guitar into his music and experimented with a shift towards rock and electronic sounds.

“He was always running bands and had a massive community and wonderful family,” Wachs said. “Max is a selfless human being.” It was tragically announced by Kind Country on March 5, 2021, that Max had died after battling with depression.

The song acts as both a memorial to Max as well as a message for others who experience depression or have loved ones who have passed from it too. “Reach out to your friends and let them know you love them, and to those who know someone who has passed … I hope this helps you find some peace," Wachs said.

“Wish You Well” is produced by Obery Woods and available on Apple Music and all other streaming platforms. Lyrics, piano, and saxophone are written and performed by Elliot Wachs. Also featured on the song are Ruth Maghanga, Sean Smitty Smith, Joe Barron, Cody Leduc, Obery Woods, and Brandon Pulphus.

To listen to “Wish You Well,” you can go to