Getting down Nashville’s way from Massachusetts in 2007, jack of musical trades, Adam Dalton, has spent his time taking in what a new town’s offered, mulling it over for a few years and putting together a contributing interpretation for the Music City in Self-Loathing Blues. This 10-track release out of Blackbird Studio is made up of all-out grooving-blues/country lyrically powered by the woeful lives of men taken under by poor dispositions, all in a vocal framing similar to Paul Curreri’s.
The groovy blues music accompanies the subject matter well, adding an up-side to the album with a prominent and never-disappointing Wurlitzer B3 organ, up-tempo bending harmonica, jazzy tenor sax and electric piano all showing he and his pseudo-steady backing band do not take their musical duties lightly. All four of the instruments stand out regularly, from low key on-the-porch blues all the way to big-band jam sound in the latter half of the record. It’s a foot-tapper through and through, ideal for a good bar night in a Southern town and can definitely cheer you up if you see you’re nowhere near as bad off as the fellows Dalton is describing. However, that could be missed completely if everyone is busy finding dance partners.
Starting out with that sitting-on-the-porch-with-some-friends styling of “Sweatpants Blues,” Dalton accepts a lazy day at home to take care of a few things around the house while the uppity contradiction of a Mississippi delta-fingered acoustic, steady tempo brushed snare and harmonica call out from the stoop. The blues of the album is taken to its extreme with the instrumental “Gesundheit” later on, while the second track “Further from the Truth” saves unleashing a huge tenor sax prevalent across the record, be it layered over itself for a big-band sound in the title track or linear solos in songs like “Won’t Stand” that stands as Dalton’s down-on-his-luck guy’s correctional declaration.
The Nashvillian-country aspect of Self-Loathing Blues is easily spotted within any given song, but captured wholly in the pedal-steel driven tonk, “Too Late” where there’s not a musician in the recording bored or drab.
It’s a celebration of not being down on your luck. There’s always someone everyone is glad they’re not and Dalton’s attentiveness to the regional genres supplies a proper template for his lyrical needs inspired by our Middle Tennessee.
Catching Dalton playing the music of Self-Loathing could be a good night if the live sound is even close to the studio version. Videos and touring information for January shows in Carbondale, Ill., along with downloadable copies of Self-Loathing Blues at no charge can be found at adamdaltonmusic.com.