Album Review of Adam Lee: Sincerely, Me
My first impression of Adam Lee is that of a rockabilly Chris Isaak with a little Billy Joe Armstrong-meets-Elvis Presley thrown in for good measure.
And that’s not a bad starting point. Adam’s voice is smooth yet has a rough edge that seems to suggest he’s always dangerously close to flying completely off the rails. He inhabits a raucous corner of the Americana genre. The former frontman of Kansas City’s Adam Lee & the Dead Horse Sound Company, Adam landed a 2015 Ameripolitan Award nomination in the Honky Tonk Group category. Sincerely, Me is his solo album debut.
The song that most often pops into my head from this album is “What I Need,” a rattling, energetic, number replete with clever hooks that features ragtime-reminiscent piano… and whose closing lyrics were purloined for the album title.
Also particularly memorable is “Patrick” is an Irish-style folk song with the requisite odd storyline. “When She Danced,” on the other hand, is more like an Irish hymn, with the absolute flip side of what seems like perhaps the same vocal edge.
Adam’s Western-inspired “Misery” mixes a haunting twang with a slow build that never quite explodes, creating an enjoyably artistic tension.
Another favorite on this varied disc include the album-opener, not-as-hopeful-as-it-seems “Good Days,” which features the full emotional breadth of Adam’s rough voice and singing style, itself quite conspicuously unique; while the vocals are enunciated as if spoken, they’re simultaneously tunefully sung. And, as I mentioned earlier, smoothly rough and ragged. And the more piano-motored “Son of a Gun,” which uses horns and tempo changes to provide it with an oddly hypnotic energy.
Finally, worth noting, I do love some of the lyrics in “Stray Cat,” including gems like “I’ve found the less you say/The more interested they are/Yeah, a man who talks too much is a man who starves.”
In summary, this disc is a harshly pleasant, boisterous, rockabilly-infused alt-country disc with great depth and style. And Adam Lee provides the sort of memorable vocal that almost sounds as if he sings with an Elvis-inspired quivering lip. The dude’s got style.
Per the tour page on Adam’s website, he’ll be at the Bremen Cafe in Milwaukee, WI on Wednesday, November 16; at GLM Live in Lafayette, IN on Friday, November 18; and at the Six Strings Club in Bloomington, IL on Sunday, November 20th.