When Peter Bradley Adams talks about having four producers serving as the backing band for the recording of his upcoming album “The Mighty Storm,” visions of a Chinese Democracy-esque wait for the disc immediately come to mind. But fans of the Nashville singer / songwriter need not worry, as it only took five days – yes five – to track the album.
“That was definitely a gamble,” said Adams of having so many producers in one room, “but I know all these guys, we’re friends, and they also all respect each other a lot and they work together a lot, so I knew that it was possible that there could be some tension, but it was crazy how smooth it went, and there was no arguing or disagreeing. Everyone was just excited and putting out new ideas and trying new things. It was really fun.”
Backed by Ian Fitchuk, Josh Grange, Joe McMahan, and Lex Price (who all share co-producing credit with Adams on the album), Adams couldn’t be happier with the process and the end result of his sixth solo effort.
“The exciting thing for me about it is that it’s really the most live-played record that I’ve done,” he said. “We were all in the room playing the songs together and so most everything you hear happened there. There wasn’t a lot of overdubbing going on, and for me, you can really feel us in the room playing these songs, and it feels more that way than any of my previous records, which were a lot more meticulously constructed and layered up. This one feels a little looser and has a little more muscle to it, I think.”
Was that the plan going in?
“The plan going in was to assemble these guys, my Nashville dream team,” he said. “They were all producers as well as players, and it was a very collaborative effort between us all. We all produced it together and I knew going in that it was gonna solve a lot of problems that I had before in my previous records when it came to just finishing stuff. When it all happens there live, things move a lot more quickly. The batch of songs really lent themselves to these guys and I love what they do, and I hope they like what I do, so it was a great five days of music making. It was very fun; it didn’t seem like work.”
Recorded in the historic RCA Studio built by Chet Atkins and now owned by Ben Folds, Adams says “you can really hear that room on the record,” and with an April release scheduled, listeners can hear it for themselves. But for now, fans can hear songs from “The Mighty Storm” live, as Adams continues his tour with a stop at the Rockwood Music Hall II in NYC this Saturday.
“Some of the tunes I’ve been trying out over the past few months in the shows, so I kind of have a sense of what works, for me at least, and what feels good, and then the other stuff that I have not played live will be a little nerve-racking. But it feels good, so I’m gonna give it a go.”
An artist whose work appeared in Cameron Crowe’s 2005 film Elizabethtown, Adams’ songs have a strong visual component to them in that his lyrics and music conjure up scenes in your head as soon as they begin. It’s a compliment he’s heard before, even if that’s not his intention when writing.
“People do say that it’s very cinematic and that it lends itself to be used in TV and film stuff, but that’s not the intention at all,” he said. It’s sort of my aesthetic I guess, but I think it’s different every time. I do see visuals, but I wouldn’t say that’s the driving creative force. I have little flashes of memories and things that I just make up in my head too. Everyone, for some reason, thinks that singer / songwriters are just reading from their journals and writing these confessional songs. And there is some of that, for sure, in what I do, but I also try to be a storyteller and make stuff up that is a little bit more interesting than my little life. (Laughs) The ideal is to draw on your life but make it transcend your little personal situation. That’s what I try to do anyway.”
And he nails it. Yet despite his success and the high anticipation level for his new album, he feels like this journey has just begun.
“It may seem like I’ve been doing this a long time, and I guess I have, but for me, I feel like I’m just now getting my stride,” said Adams. “My motivation is to get better and I feel like I’m getting better and still finding my voice, so it’s a long road to that, I’m still on it, and hopefully each time I make a record it gets a little deeper, a little bit more me, and I’ll be becoming a better singer and writer. So I feel like I’m just getting started.”
Peter Bradley Adams plays Rockwood Music Hall II on Saturday, Mar. 9. For tickets, click here.