Andrew Adkins' songs have been hailed by critics from No Depression and Maverick UK as "one of the most original styles in the last decade" and "a breath of fresh air" because of their unique sound and blend of influences. Those truly unique sounds can be heard on his latest release, December’s Glass Castles. Written and produced by Adkins, the thirteen insightful, well-crafted songs are steeped in Americana, Blues, Country, Folk and Rock. Adkins melodies draw you in, with his meaningful lyrics and ethereal, yet soulful delivery keeping you engaged throughout stories of the varied aspects of life, love, and self-doubt.
Kicking things off is the harmonica laced, plucky - and quite irresistible - “Freeborn Heart” which finds him in a spot many of us have been: lonely and needing a friend, longing for one person you wish wouldn’t cast you away. Uplifting and positive, “May The Stars Fall at Your Door” casts well wishes on another while the Brit pop flavored, optimistic “Like a Stone” focuses on working out issues, and being there for the “lady of mine” as he sings “May your dreams be a picture perfect moment in time.”
Tambourine and a bluegrass feel flow through the astute “The River In All Of Us” where he notes “The only thing that’s for certain is the flood of uncertainties.” while “Consisting of Love” is simply a touching, positive song reminding us that everyone deserves trust, patience and to be heard.
The folk rock melodies of “Flicker Out and Fade” and the somber “As Above As So Below” deal with the realization that life isn’t always joyous, a theme that carries over into “Old Coal Town” with its retro jumping flair tells of searching for a better life after a stint in jail. “Did my time in county jail/My ex girlfriend’s mother had to post my bail.”
The album also includes the horn soaked “The Ballad of Wayne WV,” the story of that town that might not be much, but it’s most importantly, home as well as the emotional cautionary tale of a “rambling rose,” “The Song That Made The World Cry” and “Two Steps From Heaven” in which he asks a former love to spend the night until “these memories fade.”
The fiddle laced, hand clap filled “Jubilee (Land of The Free)” about the end of our journey here on earth, concludes the album on a perfectly exuberant note, summing up a collection that clearly puts forth life’s ups and downs, knowing at the end true happiness awaits.
Glass Castles cannot be boxed into any one particular genre, it’s a wide ranging, yet unified mix that just works. Give it a listen.