Nashville nurtures unique artists from all kinds of angles in the music industry. It’s a legendary place where folks gather to play their music and meet up-and-coming artists. Together, these artists encourage each other, feed off each other and unite to create beautiful works of music. Surrounded by historic venues like the Grand Ole Opry, country artist Adam Wakefield thrives in this environment. As a matter of fact, it is where he and his fellow musicians finalized his self-titled EP: Adam Wakefield.
Prior to releasing this new EP, Wakefield worked with Nolan Neal to produce “Blame it On Me” in March. Fused with bluesy chords and rugged rock ‘n’ roll vocals, Wakefield’s powerful voice grows steadily from the song’s inception to its booming chorus. Main lyrics, “Blame it on me if it makes you feel better/ Say I’m the reason that we couldn’t stay together” can be interpreted in a variety of ways (something that Wakefield loves in a song). Guitar solos and thundering drums provide a ton of character, allowing the Nashville superstar to explode with his upper register and groove in this country/rock masterpiece.
Adam Wakefield – EP‘s Other Tracks
Another rock ‘n’ roll track on the EP is “Motorcycles and Cigarettes”. The piece opens up with a saloon styled conversation and suddenly transitions into a badass southern rock tune. High electric guitar flutters combined with a steady bass and background singing tell the story of a true head-turner who is on track to drive Wakefield “into an early demise”. As the story progresses and Wakefield tries to “get [her] smell out of his clothes”, more magical elements come into play.
Guitar and drum solos get in gear with the song and progressively spice up the melody. Additionally, these solos give more charisma to the chorus as well as the time between the verses. On a very, very minor downside, the enthusiasm is not quite where the other rock pieces on the EP are. Once again though, southern rock is yet another dimension that Wakefield flaunts, so don’t hold a slower tempo against him.
The last ‘rock heavy’ number is the EP’s opener, “Waiting on the Thunder”. Initially, I was not very impressed with this track due to an absence of Wakefield’s full vocal capacity. He has a huge power note towards the end, but otherwise else, the vocals were lackluster in energy and power. However, the factor that I soon came to appreciate were the instrumentals. Between intense electric guitar solos (no doubt Stevie Wonder influenced), mandolin & guitar duets and the emphatic power of the drums, the composition turned this track into quite the smashing hit.
My personal favorite on the EP is “Love is Blind”. While the tempo is comparatively less energetic than the rock-leaning ones, Wakefield’s vocals blow me away (especially his power). His growling has an enriching tone which sounds very soulful next to an echoing of an organ, drums, guitar and background vocalists (Dennis Drummond & Jenny Leigh). As a fan of Wakefield’s music, I picked up on the smidge of “The Genius” within this song’s vocals. Ray Charles’ smooth lower register and gravely power inspired Wakefield and clearly rubbed off on him (see Adam perform Charles’ “I Got a Woman” for further reference).
For fans who enjoyed Wakefield’s “Lonesome Broken and Blue” from last year, “She’s Got the Whiskey” will satisfy as well. Along with the tambourines (feat. Stephen Keith or Derion Haynes (not quite sure which)), Jenee Fleenor works her magic on the fiddle as Wakefield takes the mic. While the message is somber (especially the final notes), its lyricism is the album’s best. Lyrics, “She’s got the whiskey to my heart/ I hate to admit it but she sets the bar/ higher than anyone else/ Her love’s top shelf” paint a thousand pictures all at once.
When I hear the chorus, I envision this: The love of someone’s life fading away as they drive off. The one left alone looks miserably into the sunset, tears streaming down their face. Call me a dreamer but Wakefield has always been a fantastic storyteller with his music. My only ‘complaint’ per se, is the volume of the drums. They take too much attention away from the purity of the message itself as well as the fiddle.
“Lovin’ Me Bad” is the last of the six, and his best selling song on iTunes (other than “Blame it On Me”) off the EP. It starts with about 20 seconds of guitar and smaller background elements that give off a blues and country vibe. As he sings about a person who loves him despite his faults and insecurities, Wakefield strategically opens his register in increments. While the story develops and more instruments showcase their personalities, Wakefield steadily rises to the peak of his vocal mountain and explodes in the final chorus. His voice is not the only thing that does this though. “Lovin’ Me Bad” slowly adds its instruments with melody/key changes into the story as Wakefield gives more of himself. Everything fluctuates harmoniously together and other than a few spots of shaky diction, this track is perfect.
Since the day he decided to “give the artist thing a shot,” Wakefield has remained one of my favorites. His voice has no limitations; neither does his arranging or composing. While the genre attached to his music is country, he expands into so many other places. Between his enormous growling belt and his gentler bluegrass arsenal, Wakefield continues to emulate what true artistry is about. He does not need computerized support or another person to write his material. He’s original, extremely special and an artist that gives Nashville a proud name.
Country l Gabe Records