One of Austin's new breed of recording artists and singer/songwriters, Brent Adair hails from the Lone Star State, but check out a few clips from the 2004 debut cd "Pieces" and you'll find that "Texas" hardly gets you started.
Adair was raised in Houston, Texas, where his musical seeds were being sown when he could but gurgle at family gatherings around the living room piano. Subsequent years of exposure to American roots music endowed him with an appreciation of musical simplicity that still shines in his work. Once a guitar entered his world at the age of 16, Adair's musical journey took on a whole new form. "I couldn't put it down," Adair admits, though not only out of the usual captivation with a new form of musical expression, "cause if I did, my twin brother would steal it." It wasn't long before both Adairs had guitars in hand, and were fronting an acoustic band that spanned both of their college towns.
His first full-length studio album, Pieces, has rounded out to be the ideal introduction to his work. The vocals are smooth and present, confident and catchy. The tunes range from blues rock to alt-pop to roots funk. Influences include Ben Harper, Pete Yorn, David Gray, and Jack Johnson. It is no wonder then that he's brought us a record that is spacious but never empty, raw while still superbly refined. The opener "One of These Days" is groove pop at its best, followed by the spanky groove of "Vain" to add a flare of acoustic funk. The title track is one to watch with percolating guitars and violins tied by quirky rhyme schemes. "Misery" introduces the southern blues rock theme with a lyric mired by relational upheaval. "Now That You're Gone" is an eerie, three-dimensional trip folk treatise of a lesson learned too late. With B-side offerings not to be missed like the dramatic, reggae-influenced "Thing Called Life" and jazzy songwriting specimen "On My Own," Pieces is musical schizophrenia presented so harmoniously that you just can't take it out.
Pieces features the production of Ivory Tower's MD Thompson. "What he helped me achieve on this recording is nothing less than amazing," confesses Adair. After hearing the stylistic range of the material, the challenge before Thompson was clear: to allow each song to achieve its unique potential while still contributing to a cohesive whole true to Adair's vision. The other key ingredient in the resulting tapestry was a rhythmic duo as irreverent to classification as Adair's writing: long-time mentor and Austin jazz staple Glen Rexach on bass, and powerful whiz-kid/world-beat puncher Jason McKenzie on drums. "It was a riot," recalls Adair. "I couldn't stop grinning at the amazing s**t these cats would come up with."
In terms of accolades, Adair already boasts an ever-growing list of songwriting and performance feathers in his cap, including first prize in a Houston contest that landed him an opening slot for James Taylor sibling Livingston Taylor - all prior to the aid of a showcase recording. Venues played include not only all the standard new artist haunts, but numerous festivals and highly selective establishments such as Austin's Central Market, Saxon Pub, and Houston's Anderson Fair.
The only question surrounding this up-and-coming artist is, why did you keep us waiting for so long? "Distractions," Adair responds. "The usual distractions.... But I'm back now, and I'll be here for a good long while."
And A Few Quotes...
"Shifting from cool-headed rhythm and blues to balls-out power pop in the blink of an eye, 'Pieces' showcases what could be the freshest sound to hit the singer/songwriter scene in years."
[BLUE DIVIDE MAGAZINE]
"He interjects a healthy dose of pop styles with respect for roots from the likes of Dylan and Guthrie...Great vocals and lyrics are the glue that bonds it all together."