Adam Carroll was born and raised in Texas, a state that has produced more than a few singer/songwriters with an uncanny ability to read the souls and touch the hearts of their listeners. With Far Away Blues, his debut album for Blue Corn Music, Adam Carroll joins the short list of down- home storytellers able to take the everyday events of ordinary lives and turn them into deeply moving, and often quite humorous, songs.
Far Away Blues is more introspective, and more cohesive than his previous albums, but it has the same melodic invention and commanding poetic voice that earned South of Town and Lookin' Out the Screen Door nationwide rave reviews (see enclosed press sheet) and considerable airplay. Carroll is already a major artist in Texas; Far Away Blues is sure to take that buzz nationwide.
Far Away Blues, like Carroll's other studio albums, was produced by Lloyd Maines, a man known for his ability to create an intimate studio atmosphere. The album projects the warmth of a living room get together; down to the brief spoken introductions Carroll gives to each song. "I usually mention the title of each tune before I play it. Lloyd suggested leaving the intros in, to get the home made feel we were aiming for.
"My first two albums were just collections of songs I'd written," Carroll explained. "So to challenge myself, I started thinking about the direction I wanted to go, musically and lyrically, before I started writing. There was a lot of music in my family. My granddad played sax for Gene Krupa, before he became the Choir Director at a Methodist church in Texas. We would sit down together and listen to Dizzy Gillespie and Charlie Parker. Lloyd suggested writing a tune my Granddad could play on. That got me thinking about the way my family connected through music, and the way music connects us all. I started thinking about writing songs that were interconnected, without actually making it a concept album." The album includes a guest appearance by Ray Wylie Hubbard on "Last Day Of Grace," a tune he co-wrote with Carroll as well as backing vocals from Terri Hendrix.
Carroll cut the basic tracks - guitar, harmonica and voice - most in one take, aiming for a live concert feel. Then Maines brought in session players to lay down rhythm tracks and add strings, horns (including Ray Davidson, Carroll's grandfather on sax) and pedal steel, Maines' specialty. "Low in the Mountains (High in the Pines)" is a laid-back bluegrass tune that features some fancy picking by Lloyd Maines on mandolin and a variety of guitars. "There are little pockets of bluegrass players scattered around East Texas," Carroll said. "I wanted to pay tribute to their music and the memories I have of them. "Teardrops," is a melancholy love song with Carroll on piano, backed by a swooning string quartet. "Richard Bowden added the fiddles and cello. I never thought I'd have anything that sounded classical on an album of mine, so it was quite a surprise." Musically, the title track sounds like an old time Appalachian mountain ballad, but in two neat verses it explains the difference between family vacations before and after a young man is aware of girls. The album closes with two songs of redemption and resurrection. "Last Day Of Grace," Carroll's duet with Ray Wylie Hubbard, is a stirring Southern Gospel tune that holds out a glimmer of hope to those afflicted by life's hardships. "Peace on Earth" is a prayer for confused lovers, missing soldiers and other lost souls set to a funereal Irish tune, another echo of family and musical ties that go back generations in time. Ray Davidson plays a closing solo that brings to mind the drone of Scotch and Irish pipers. Far Away Blues nudges Carroll's sound in new directions, but the focus remains on Carroll's songwriting and his warm, easygoing vocals. Even when he's dealing with heartache and hardship, Carroll's basic goodness and generosity of spirit come shining though. Far Away Blues is an album that will grow on you, revealing new levels of insight and musicianship every time you listen.
Adam Carroll grew up in Tyler, Texas. He is a fan of classic rock and toyed with playing electric guitar, but when he picked up an acoustic at the age of 18 his course was set. "I got a feeling from the acoustic I never got from the electric guitar. And seeing Joe Ely, Guy Clark and Robert Earl Keen live really empowered me. They're approachable in a way that some musicians aren't. I was also blown away Terry Allen's Lubbock on Everything. It showed me that songs could be really weird and really funny, but still be true."
In Junior College, Carroll began paying attention to the way words and music were put together and decided on a songwriting career. "The core of what I do is songwriting; it's the one thing I'm passionate about. It's the most fulfilling and challenging job I can imagine."
Carroll began playing gigs and built up a solid fan base almost overnight. Relentless touring throughout Texas and the Southwest laid the foundation for his 1998 debut, South Of Town, produced by Lloyd Maines. The album added to Carroll's growing reputation, as did his first appearance at SXSW. The Austin Chronicle's Michael Beryin hailed Carroll as "75% John Prine and one quarter Townes Van Zandt.he has the rare ability to do silly without being corny." "Life can be screwed up," Carroll explained. "And while I'm not a zippity do dah kind of guy, when I write a song, there's always a kind of redemption in it. I don't know if I have a brighter outlook than anybody else - I get driven crazy by some stuff - but laughing, even when things aren't really funny, keeps me going."
At the Austin Music awards that year Carroll won Top Ten mentions for Best Songwriter, Best Singer/Songwriter and Best Folk Artist. "Adam Carroll's Down Home Song Swaps," held at various venues around the state, added more fans and built up a sense of community among fellow songwriters. "I was trying to get my name out there, so I started hosting in-the-round sows with my songwriter friends. There are so many good writers out there; it gave us a chance to support each other."
Album #2 Lookin' Out the Screen Door, again produced by Maines, produced another flurry of rave reviews and led to better gigs, including a knock out debut performance at Nashville's legendary songwriter caf?, The Bluebird Lounge. Far Away Blues is the next step on a journey guaranteed to add another Texan to the pantheon of great singer/songwriters.
Adam Carroll will be touring heavily to support Far Away Blues.
For more information, CDs, press kits, photos and interviews please contact Vickie Lucero at the Propaganda Group at 512.268.3048 or by email at email@example.com.
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