By Devon “Doc Wendell
The genre designated as Americana encompasses a lot. Country, bluegrass, folk, blues, and good old fashioned rock n’ roll. Lauren Adams has been a veteran of the Los Angeles Americana music scene for many decades. She’s a stellar singer, guitarist and prolific songwriter.
Adams’ new CD Somewhere Else rivals the greatest works by Emmylou Harris and Bob Dylan. Songs like “It Takes What It Takes”, the title track, “Miss You”, “Between Me And You” and “Heavy, Heavy Heart” are soulful ballads that deal with sorrow, longing, and most of all, spiritual growth. Adams has a firm grip on reality and the struggles of love, dreams and the ability to keep moving forward despite the greatest of obstacles.
The music on Somewhere Else has a unique country/folk feel to it. The backup band is superior, many of whom have been playing with Adams for many years such as guitarist Nick Kirgo (who co-engineered and mixed the album), the legendary Mark “Pocket” Goldberg on bass along with David Sutton, Hank Van Sickle and Dave Beyer, Debra Dobkin, drums and percussion. David Fraser and Tom Heimer appear on piano with Fraser also on accordion, Lynn Coulter and McCoy Kirgo on drums and vocals and tamborine, Luke Halpin, Mandolin and violin, Gary Stockdale, background vocals, and Grady Kinnoin, pedal steel guitar.
Adams has a warm sense of humor which is apparent on “Henry (From Saginaw Michigan)” Adams is a true story teller, which is something that’s missing from most musical genres today. Even the older “legends” have fallen back on familiar clichés or trying to tackle Sinatra but Adams has the key to that forever song, which is a rare gift. Her voice is tender and poignant and it’s obvious that these musicians have been playing together for a long time.
‘The Shoe Fits” and “Oh Marie” are real country tunes with no pop gimmicks. The recording is clean and clear. It’s refreshing to hear the real thing. Adams is no stranger to this music. At a time in which even Nashville is calling out for actual good old fashioned country music, Lauren Adams could be the music’s savior. I love that Nick Kirgo and Adams recorded this album as purely as possible.
“We Try Harder” is a rollicking, no-nonsense country rocker. Adams shares the lead vocal spot with Lynn Coulter. This is the kind of music Bonnie Raitt should be playing.
“Bayview Drive” is a sweet and sincere lullaby and one of the album’s many highlights with some truly skillful and inspirational guitar picking by Adams. The lyrics on “National Cheer Up The Lonely Day” are cynical and biting and the music is warm and soulful; the perfect dichotomy. Any songwriter will wish they had penned this country classic. The album closes with John Anderson’s menacing “Seminole Wind.” The imagery is original, stark and beautiful and Adam’s vocals are perfect.
“Somewhere Else” is the most powerful statement in Americana music that I’ve heard in many decades. Adams is a poet and a master musician to be reckoned with. This recording is bound to make her a household name and kick open many doors. If you’re wondering what happened to true All-American country and folk music, look no further.