12.30.2016

Arkansas’ Adam Faucett; Soulful Poetry in Song


I saw Adam Faucett live last month and bought his 2014 release Blind Water Finds Blind Water. Yes, I’m old school and like to support directly. Since 2006 with a little break I’ve been writing about under the radar music. I’m late to Adam Faucett, he was just not on my radar but is now, thanks to a friend and musician I admire who treasures him. I am also from east coast and references to rock piles, sleeping Opossum, old train lots, are not common jargon for me, but each song speaks to me through the universality of love, breakup, hurt, regret and fine storytelling.


Adam Faucett has one of the greatest voices I’ve ever heard. His smooth high notes and diaphragm defying fervent belts possess soul, grit, and beauty. Best of all they are delivered with his Arkansas accent. Blending finger-picking on electric guitar with bass and drums. These contemplative songs are the perfect mix of Southern soul, rock and roll and folk. The only track that goes in a different direction is “Killer on Staten Island”; It is eerie, gorgeous, and highlights the piano.


His songwriting applies snippets of memory retrieved and blended into a poetic narrative with references to small-town America. Faucett weaves dreams, hopes, memories and predictions as complicated expectations. A paragraph recited in full in the song "The Poet" inscribed by the local Oracle on the bar bathroom wall.  Faucett cites the famous mystic to make themes realized in the song "Edgar Cayce" / your dreams have swallowed me whole /.  And a descriptive narrative using the word (I remember) travels through the song "Opossum," imparting some folk wisdom; / all that truly love you / been traveling with you always / well I hope your right /.


I can feel the heartache and regrets and can smell the bar, and picture its dark oppressive dimly lit interior on the first track “Day Drinker” / Nobody / nowhere is gonna outdrink me / It’s so lonesome in the afternoon / when you’re the only one / with nothing to do /.


While vocals express longing in "Walking Home Late" / Walking home late /with you on my mind / because all that I have is you on my mind / the music simulates a pulse like a heartbeat stressing the aloneness of the moment. The instrumentation in “Melonie” is musically masculine combining guitar, bass, and a persistent war-like drumbeat, emphasizing regrets about an affair that went wrong as he sings / Melonie I don’t want to hold hands / get killed by your ex-old man / but no more /. And the unintended fallout / We did / we did him wrong / he was our brother in song /.


I love the two songs about different Arkansas towns. "Benton” constructs the memories of youth re-visiting the old rockpile and reflects on the dreams left behind / the flowers walk away / from the grave of my young dreams / just easier that way / just easier that way /. While “Sparkman” is about a regretful longing through the prism of a man thinking he might regain a relationship that has gone terribly wrong.


Ending with “Rock Ain’t Gold’ where Faucett depicts the act of digging and searching to represent all dreams not actualized. / Struck gold now the sun won’t rise / been a digging for most of my life/ trade it all for a little bit of life / rich comes at the bottom of the mine /.


This music was a gift to me like folklore passed along from one friend to another. In today’s music climate, people only hear parts of a whole my suggestion is to listen to the entire body of work and buy the whole damn thing.


Looking forward to his next record said to be released in 2017.


Adam Faucett – Guitar and Vocals
Jonny D – Bass

Will Boyd – Drums

11.30.2016

Conor Oberst Solo at Carnegie Hall



The minimalist stage was set for a solo evening with Conor Oberst. Conor switched between piano, guitar while the harmonica remained a constant. His songwriting took center stage at Carnegie Hall while the instruments like jewels glimmered around his poignant lyrics. The first half of the performance he played his new album Ruminations in full. Having purchased Ruminations recently, I was familiar with the raw pared down recordings. The accompaniment of Miwi La Lupa on bass and the acoustics at the Carnegie created an interesting dichotomy giving the songs magnitude while hearing private intimate songs become very public.

The second half he played older songs curated for content. They were familiar and with the advent of time took on new meaning as history unfolds post election.  

Lenders in the Temple, Cape Canaveral, White Shoes, Passing Through (Leonard Cohen cover and dedication) Ladder Song, Lua, The Big Picture and At the Bottom of Everything.

Whether the material was old or new each word sung echoed through the majesty of the hall. Speaking to me as they always have for the last 16 years. Conor has become a seasoned performer, his lyrics carry levels of imagery and inference like no other. His phrasing and delivery creates the winning dynamic as chosen words are highlighted for affect or a consonant pronounced with clarity.

The audience at Carnegie Hall cheered from the top tiers every time Conor sang the line / victory is sweet, even deep in the cheap seats / from the song “Cape Canaveral”. The sound experience was the same regardless of the price or location of any given seat. The only seat I would have really liked was Sean Foley’s (harmonica cleaner) next to the grand piano with a fishbowl full of water.






11.11.2016

Adam Faucett's Voice Delivers at Rockwood Music Hall


There is no better healing for a beat up soul with election blues than powerful live music. Thank you, Adam Faucett! Was I on sacred ground or stage 1 at Rockwood Music Hall?  His voice bellowed and reverberated from the rafters and made me a believer. When he brought down the volume the soothing tenderness of his voice settled inside my spirit. His poetic songwriting was delivered like a moving sermon. I am not religious but sign me up!

Two other newbies were there sitting next to me and said, "There is nothing better than discovering extraordinary music accidentally".


9.30.2016

Four Star Mecca EP by Peoples Rohoss





Peoples Rohoss is a power trio. Two brothers and a childhood friend who play a scattered rock mix of guitar, bass, cello and drums, intertwined with high-frequency vocals and woven with an adventurous orchestral sound. They rely on improvisational chance and musicianship that they synchronize with each other. To say they are interactive is an understatement.

Their EP Four Star Mecca takes all those elements and blends them to create a statement.  The “Intro Song” is an orchestral rock composition that combines unfamiliar instrument sounds with distant vocals that fade and suddenly vanish. Surprisingly ”Young Elitists” starts as a poppy punk song with the catchphrase / It’s two AM / we're wide awake /. The songs muscular start pauses only to pick back up with an outpouring of energy. It ends with a lone guitar player's mindless strumming possibly imagining this recording was his pipe dream.

The lyrical hook / to find the grays, in this dotted space / mimics the sound of discordant melody in the song “The Four Star Mecca.” It is a high powered mix with splattered vocals and drums that sound like dropping bombs. Coming on strong is the appropriately titled “Back and Forth” in which every instrument commits to an intense dialogue creating an invigorating tension. The vocals / It could have been bittersweet to go home, stoned / come in gently in contrast to the rough and tumble mix. Ending this unique collection is “The East End” that starts with a seductive, strong bass line and has a rousing and unpredictable exuberance that builds to crescendo following the phrase  / you always run / but never make amends /and pauses with a drum roll.

This EP collection is invigorating smart rock music. It is not an easy listening experience, and that is a compliment.
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Bass / Cello - James Acampora
Drums -Sean Perham
Guitar / Howling / Everything else - Mike Acampora