First, a definition:
“Liminal – of, relating to, or being an intermediate state, phase, or condition”
If this is an intermediate phase for Adam, I can’t wait to see where the road takes him!
Let me start this review with a story:
In 2001, I attended the Victor Wooten Bass/Nature camp. It was an all around wonderful experience but one teacher really left an impression on me more than any other. Adam had not only an incredibly kind and warm demeanor and a way of explaining things in a way in which you immediately “got it” but he really walked the talk in so many regards… for example, in an epic bass jam with Adam, Steve Bailey, Victor, JD Blair and Reggie Wooten on Guitar, Adam was the only guy who would step back and simplify to best serve the music and provide a foundation. He is as capable as any up there of trading licks and blowing chops, but he put the music first. I watched him intently and just kept thinking ,”Man.. this guy’s musical ego is REALLY intact and he’s doing everything to make the music FEEL good regardless of whether or not he gets overshadowed in the process”. Now THAT impressed me far more than any solo played that night. That is why Adam is such a wonderful MUSICIAN (and why he’s such a busy one!). It’s this approach that really comes through in this (long awaited) release…
There is studying a plenty to be done by bass players here! Adam’s bass lines are supremely interesting, his soloing is masterful and his pocket is deep, but Adam seems to command a higher level of musicianship and that translates throughout every member of the band. There is a common thread of groove and southern comfort (not the drink) in these compositions with plenty of room for group dynamics and interaction. I was also immediately struck by the tasty B-3 work on the album and was pleasantly surprised to see Johnny Neel’s name. I had the pleasure of playing with Johnny a few years ago at a festival in Idaho (I think?) and he is one of those guys that just emotes pure joy, taste and love in his music. A prefect fit, in my opinion, for Adam’s album.
For those looking for a good study, look no further. Amazing slap work, tasteful tapping, sweeping arpeggiatic runs, solos that leave your jaw on the floor and some of the coolest bass lines and grooves I’ve heard in some time.
And for those just looking for some good music, it doesn’t feel much better than this! My wife, who has an extremely critical ear, walked by as I was listening to “Redemption Street” and actually said, “wow… that feels nice! Who is that?”. If that doesn’t convince you, you obviously haven’t met my wife!
This is Nashville’s A-list doing what they do best! This is also what is so special about Nashville… Music coming out of Nashville is inherently “listenable” and it’s a rare album that can serve both the needs of us as musicians to:
(a) enjoy a musical journey and float along for the ride
(b) as technicians who need something to chew on, transcribe, analyze and dig into in our quest for technical mastery.
This album serves us well in every regard. Alpha and Beta.. it’s all there!
About Damian Erskine
Damian Erskine is not your ordinary bass player. While not touring, Damian hones his chops with some of the best jazz and latin musicians the West coast has to offer. Damian is known for his ability to fit into any musical situation and his extraordinary reading and improvising skills.