Independent Label, 830 Records, from Jenni Finlay and Brian T. Atkinson. This first appeared in the January 2017 issue of Buddy Magazine
There’s a photographer’s eye and there’s a poet’s eye. Adam Carroll’s songs seem to mesh the two styles together, using words to paint the photographs of life on life’s terms. There’s 16 Adam Carroll songs on this project, produced by Jenni Finlay and Brian T. Atkinson. But, Adam only sings on the first one, “My Only Good Shirt.” The rest are sung by those who admire this newer-age Guy Clark-style songwriter.
Jason Eady sings “Errol’s Song,” making a listener wish he knew Errol. “”He held my hand when my boots got too heavy, with the mud from the rice fields coming to my behind… We walked through the graveyard of the rusted combines.” And a look at characters Scarface and that dirty-haired girl, in their usual hidey-holes, namely a bar, in Hayes Carll’s cover of “Girl With the Dirty Hair.” And the singer laments, “If I had me some sense, I’d be five years gone by now.”
A personal favorite is “Karaoke Cowboy,” covered by Noel McKay and Brennen Leigh. “In a Stetson hat and some snake-skin boots, a bolo tie and jeans, There’s the karaoke cowboy, his name is Bob, at the bar in Grand Saline.” Bob is clearly seen as a Branson and Nashville wash-up, a success until “a trailer park tornado took all of that away.”
And Terri Hendrix immortalizes the pot-growing couple in “Red Bandana Blues.” Hippies, who never grew up and never moved to town. “Two tie-dyed, brain-fried misfits, who lived in a shack in the back of the Bodark woods… And in trouble they got deeper when they grew their crops of reefer. Because business and pleasure were two words they got confused. And the days went by with the red bandana blues.
James McMurtry, who sings “Screen Door,” is quoted on the liner notes as saying, “Adam’s like a very young Kris Kristofferson. He writes about things that are older than me.” And the notes also state that the record is dedicated to “the memories of Guy Clark and Kent Finlay, who forever changed Texas music.”
— Mary Jane Farmer