Adam Holt is "Kind of Blues" on New Roots CD

Article Contributed by Mark Pucci Media | Published on Sunday, March 31, 2019

Alabama roots singer/guitarist Adam Holt announces a May 31st release date for his new CD, Kind of Blues, on Zenith Records, a 10-song showcase of his incredibly soulful vocals and blistering blues/southern rock guitar work. Nine tunes are originals, with a dreamy version of Bob Dylan’s “Lay Lady, Lay” closing out the disc.

Produced by Holt, Kind of Blues features Adam on vocals, acoustic and electric guitars, piano and organ, backed by a solid band of Owen Finley – bass; Greg Deluca – drums; Donnie Sundal - organ, piano; Lee Yankie - slide guitar; Mark Welborn - pedal steel; and Pierre Robinson – bass. The album was recorded at Studio ’78, Holt’s analog commercial studio in Alabama, using his Ampex MM1100 16 track 2-inch machine for tracking. The band all played together to get the basic tracks and he overdubbed some guitar solos and all the backing vocals. The tracks were mixed at Dockside Studio in Lafayette, Louisiana, and mastered by Kevin Nix at LNix Mastering.

Adam Holt will celebrate the release of Kind of Blues with a special show May 31st at Callaghan’s Irish Social Club in Mobile, Alabama. Showtime is at 7pm.

“The title, Kind of Blues, is a reflection of the styles within the sound of the album,” Holt states. “It has a blend of blues, country, Americana, and rock and roll, tied together by contemporary blues licks. The name is also a nod to Kind of Blue, the album made famous by Miles Davis, which I know very well. Trumpet was the first instrument I played, beginning in middle school, all the way through college. I listened to Kind of Blue many nights while I worked on my analog recording gear, compressors, preamps and my tape machines, which I used to make this record.”

Muddy Waters once said, “The blues had a baby, and they named the baby rock n’ roll.” Well if Muddy Waters and Tom Petty had a baby, they’d name the baby Adam Holt. And with an array of guitars, an old Ampex tape machine, and an unassuming group of musicians out of Mobile in his toolset, Adam Holt’s latest studio album is a gutsy amalgamation of his deeply-sown roots in the blues, classic country, and rock n’ roll of decades ago.

“With every song on the album, I wanted to speak from the heart,” he confesses. “Be it my own experience or the experiences of those that I love. Above all, it was most important to me to capture the meaning of the vintage sound, using analog gear and a workflow that reflects the hey-day of the recording industry: a time when music was alive and truly meant something.”

No stranger to the spotlight, Adam has toured the Southeast from Houston to Tallahassee to Chattanooga, playing everywhere from music festivals to dive bars, and sharing the stage with such southern rock icons as Lynyrd Skynyrd and Drivin’ n Cryin,’ as well as blues legends Bob Margolin, Willie Big Eyes Smith and Hubert Sumlin. This multi-instrumentalist even lends his piano chops in an up-tempo dueling piano bar or an intimate lounge venue, pouring his heart out.

“‘Mr. Morning Drive,’ is the first track on the album and was co-written with my wife, singer-songwriter Jillian Holt,” he says. “The song is about the amazing life of her grandfather, Jack Bell, who was a radio DJ for over 50 years and retired at the golden age of 90. You hear his actual voice, recorded on a vintage microphone, at the beginning and end of the song. His voiceover sets the tone for the album by introducing the song with his famous radio slate.”

Adam Holt -photo by Irwin Funes

Adam Holt’s forte is in being direct with what he has to say, both lyrically and in how he responds on the guitar. As a songwriter, Holt addresses the stereotypes of women in modern society; and in the bluesy, “The Bourgeoisie,” he takes a stab at corporate America and those who revel in the vanity of the spoils. His songs stand on their own with just an old acoustic guitar, but lend well and lay the foundation for his big, southern, velvety voice and his honest interpretation of what an electric guitar can truly sound like. It’s American music at the core, and Alabama blues and rock at the fringes.

“I like to think that ‘I’m Still Holdin’ On’ is the song that sounds the most like country music on the record. I wrote it about those who can’t seem to let go of certain parts of their past; those who struggle to move on with their life after a break-up or divorce. I approached it from the perspective of someone who believes deeply in their heart that the love of their life will someday come back to them, if they just keep holding on.

“Having been born and raised in the South, I’ve experienced some ghosts in my day. I’m not talkin’ about the Holy Ghost or the kind that rattle chains in the middle of the night. I’m talkin’ about the ghost of Jim Crow. So I wrote ‘The Story Must Go On’ about the events of the Civil Rights era as a reminder that although we’ve moved forward as a society since the sixties, there is still more work to do. With every victory for civil rights, another page is turned and the story must go on; the fight must continue.”

In 2010, Adam Holt released the well-received album, The Sunday Troubadour, following that   with an EP featuring two tracks recorded at the legendary Sun Studio in Memphis. Holt lived up to the legacy of such a unique location with his versions of Howlin’ Wolf’s “Killing Floor” and Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues.”