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Western Soul

Western Soul - Todd Adelman

If the Flying Burrito Brothers were all grown up, fronted by Guy Clark, and produced by Levon Helm, you’d almost have something like Todd Adelman’s new record, “Western Soul.” I’ve known Todd for almost 25 years, and I’ve heard just about everything he’s written over that time. Ernest Hemingway said that he “writes one page of masterpiece to 91 pages of shit.” I’ve watched Todd fill up more than a few wastebaskets. A bunch of the stuff that didn’t end up there found its way on to this album.

“Western Soul” puts the out-west sunset in the rearview mirror and sees it from a back-east perspective. Distance punctuates proximity. Youth yields to age. Substance overcomes flash. Subjects, like objects in the mirror, are closer than they appear. Todd tackles everything from the nuances of love to the craters created by death; from the everyday plight to get through the day, to the sad final flight of one-of-a kind; from friends (current, past, factual, and fictional) to the complexity and promise of family – songs written about them, for them and with them. Like good whiskey in an old barrel, Todd aged right before my ears. I guess I never noticed how seriously he was pondering the question he asks: “why are old guitars so proud of their age.”

Great records get better with time. I put this one in the CD player ten days ago and it’s still in there. Without really “listening”, I’ve noticed that a different song grabs my attention each time through. Whether it’s a lick, a lyric, a chord change or a rhythmic shift, something pulls you in. The musicianship is top shelf. The production is so simple that it’s nearly invisible. As I sat with a glass of aged whiskey, and a fresh copy of “Western Soul” – sure, I’d heard it all before – it was like meeting an old friend for the first time. When good gets better, it demands our attention. This record is a shining example of what happens when good enough is never good enough, when soul is never satisfied, and when commitment pays hard-earned dividends.

– Kevin DeForrest

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Session Photos from The Woods Studio