by: Thomas D. Mooney
“Let’s give Brandon Adams another round of applause–the ever-present yet seemingly never here–Brandon Adams.” Wade Parks is sitting to the right of the vacant chair once occupied by a smoking Adams. You see Adams through the front glass at Blue Light ashing his finished cigarette and making his way back to the stage.
Parks is joking about Adams’ frequent trips to the bar and patio during tonight’s show, but really, it can be said about the current Brandon Adams. The recently moved Adams’ presence in Lubbock is as strong as it ever was despite only being in town a week here and a day there. He’s in everyone’s photographs, but never there.
Along with long time contemporary, the folk singing Spanish teacher Wade Parks and the ever rising Jon Young, Adams takes the Blue Light stage the for the umpteenth time. A bevy of denim clad songwriters are in the crowd. Whether they know it or not, they all owe a bit of their sound to Adams’ existence.
Still, he too has, in a way, become one of those faces pinned like tattoos on the wall.
It was supposed to be an Album Release Show for Adams tonight, but he’s still putting on the finishing touches on a new EP–On Through the Night. He promises that he’ll send anyone a free copy if they give him their address after the show.
He’s has been recording the last few months in his newest hometown, Stephenville, with a few familiar faces. It’s somehow been four years since Adams released his last record, 2011’s self-titled full-length.
It feels like a lifetime away.
“You’ve all probably heard me play these songs a hundred times. I’ll try and give you a new back story about this one in particular though,” Adams says before going into one of these OTTN tracks, “Baby Birds.” It’s a song that Adams is still figuring out, trying to discover its’ true meaning(s).
The original follow-up, the now defunct/lost record Restless Heart, saw many complications that sadly spiraled out of Adams’ control. The record label blues. I won’t get into it, but the misrelease has had an effect on Adams–not in a devastating, destructive way. But more so toying with the Adams psyche. Stuck in limbo. Paddling without a cause.
It’s near closing time. Someone requests Adams’ “Radiate.” He obliges–even though I have a sneaking suspicion he’s not necessarily wanting to do so. He puts it off for a round, but does it nevertheless.
The songs you write end up owning you. They dictate. They can hold on in a way that you never really imagined them doing so when you first put the pen to the paper. As Ray Wylie Hubbard would say about songwriting, you better be comfortable singing the song for the rest of your life.
What’s all this mean?
To be honest, I’m not sure. Maybe, Adams doesn’t just want to release On Through the Night for the sake of releasing it or because that’s what you’re supposed to do when you’re a musician.
But because he needs to. He needs to be done with them and go on to the next one.