Songwriter, singer, guitarist, mandolinist, ukulelist, and concertinist Allison Adams has been making music on Atlanta’s acoustic scene for more than a dozen years. Her just-released second CD, Songs from the Garden, found inspiration in her backyard—her vegetable patch, her laundry line, her flock of chickens. Literate and lyrical, the songs in this collections illuminate the transcendent in the ordinary, from homemade peach pie and a favorite pair of flip flops to a small-town beauty pageant and the first flush of fireflies on a late spring evening.
Allison's 2007 debut solo release, Redbud Winter, won her a slot as a finalist in the South Florida Folk Festival Singer-Songwriter Competition in January 2008. One of the songs from that recording, “Famous Blue Apron,” also gained her a spot as a featured artist on the Halifax, Nova Scotia-based WOT90 internet radio station featuring the voices of women. She was also selected as a “Fresh Pic” on WOT90 webpage. “Famous Blue Apron” spent nine weeks in the top 15 on the WOT90 charts, including two weeks at number 1.
Harmony singing brings Allison great joy, and she loves finding a place for her voice in duets and ensembles. In past years she has sung and played concertina around the Atlanta area and the North Georgia mountains in the folk duo Bittersweet and the original roots-rock band Letters to Mary. With Paige Parvin and the late Paul Jean, Allison was for six years one-third of Local Honey, a trio that featured female duet harmony on jazz standards, pop covers, and Allison’s originals. For five years she sang alto and played guitar, concertina, and mandolin with the vocal quartet Old Enough to Know Better. Allison has also provided instrumental and vocal support on stage for a number of artists, including Caroline Herring, Kate Campbell, Ashley Filip, Bruce Gilbert, Ben Wakeman, Lindsay Petsch, and others. Most recently, she contributed to the group The Beans with longtime Atlanta acoustic music scene favorites Cyndi Craven, Tom Wolf, and Billy Gewin.
Raised in Rabun County, in the farthest corner of the Northeast Georgia mountains, Allison writes songs that draw on a reservoir of experiences from her upbringing—comfort offered by a tiny A.M. gospel radio station, the fragile economy of a rural community, the traditional art and science of canning food. Allison’s music is also influenced by the sounds she grew up hearing, from the local bluegrass and traditional music of her community and her father’s Grandpa Jones albums to her mother’s “The Sound of Music” soundtrack and a lot of southern rock.
Allison also had ten years of classical piano training from age six and began playing acoustic guitar at fifteen. After college, she set aside her music interests to pursue a career as a writer and editor. After completing a graduate degree in English at Emory University in 2000, she bought a new guitar and began writing, singing, and playing again.