Adam Sweet - Small Town Thinking

NEO Music 

This is not the kind of music that I would usually listen to, but recently whilst doing the washing-up—yes we music journalists do undertake mundane chores—I slipped this disc in the player and found myself really enjoying it. Though it’s been out a while, I think I should make you aware of it, as like me, you might discover that you unexpectedly find it an enjoyable listen. Adam hails from the West Country—that’s Devon, not Laurel Canyon—he’s a skilled guitarist, singer and songwriter. This is his debut album, and it’s so well produced and full of quality songs and playing, you have to wonder where this young man has been hiding. Loosely speaking, his musical preference is blues-inflected, but here the music is much wider than that and by using his own songs—mainly co-writes with the underrated Steve Black—he offers a distinctive style that is uniquely his own.

These straightforward songs tell honest stories of real people and real places. Opener At Times Like This is influenced by today’s financial problems and the way it can affect everyday people’s lives. On both lyrical and musical terms this song is a winner thanks in large part to Adam’s affecting vocals. The Best Thing She Ever Had and Santarosa Street are a couple of well-constructed character portraits married to memorable melodies that are brought to life with solid musical arrangements incorporating Adam’s inspired guitar work. The Next Man After Me is slightly more bluesy thanks to the inventive addition of Kirk ‘Jelly Roll’ Johnson’s harmonica which weaves in and out behind Adam’s raunchy vocal. You Think You’re Lonely is a slick and shimmering empowerment anthem that pairs emotionally charged lyrics with an instantly catchy melody.

Adam’s sense of melody is timeless and there is a classic quality to the songs. His old-before-his-time romanticism and strong rasp are real draws. The musical arrangements throughout are right on the money, yet always each touch appears to underline, rather than draw attention from, the songs. So here’s hoping this first album gives Adam Sweet’s career the boost he deserves.