pd adams This Curious Wonder review

pd adams This Curious Wonder Lake Front/PaulAdams.org

Thirty-five years in the making, This Curious Wonder examines a world that pd adams has observed with both distress, wonder, and joy.

Paul Adams is a poet and songwriter with a series of instrumental albums to his credit. This Curious Wonder appears to be his first lyrical effort, one befitting a new start as pd adams. adams falls comfortably into my favoured category of male troubadours, Guys Without Pretty Voices. Much as Carrie Rodriguez did with Chip Taylor, Elizabeth Geyer sings with adams, providing vocal texture to most songs.

For those of us who appreciated Chip Taylor’s introspective, observance approach to songwriting on a string of albums beginning in the late ‘90s but have lost track, or just miss late career-John Stewart’s almost-spoken word folk sounds, pd adams may become a new friend.

Lyrical phrases like “there’s an old faded photo, hanging on the wall. Memories of a childhood I once knew before the fall,” (“Old Faded Photo”) and “Deep in our hearts we have questions. We get confused sometimes” (“Freaks”) punctuate adams’ visionary commentary.

Speaking? Recitation? Singing? Some combination, I suppose. There is melody enveloping his words, but adams doesn’t often reach a full state of singing.

With “Sometimes I Feel,” he starts the album with the basic truth of “Sometimes I feel, and sometimes I don’t,” progressing to the harsh realization “I’ve always needed you, I may not always have wanted you.” Related thoughts and images of isolation are found within “You Are Not That,” “Western Wind,” “I’m Alone,” and additional songs, providing a thematic connection should one be inclined in that direction.

The phrase “triggers of the past” is utilized by adams when discussing one of his songs. That association resonates as his songs—and within them, a chosen melody, a progression of notes, a breathy word or phrase—serve to spark a memory, an elusive metaphor from a previous time.

Overall, I suggest that is the great appeal of pd adams’ album. Beyond its insightful use of language and pleasing sounding songs, one feels a connection to others who have existed elsewhere; obviously familiar songwriters and singers, but also strangers encountered when away from home comforts, rooms offering shelter in a time of need, and memories providing a needed anchor.

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