Meet Andrew Adkins, singer-songwriter out of Nashville. I say singer-songwriter, but he is really so much more. Being producer and also sound engineer, he played many of the instruments you will hear in his songs as well. He is releasing his latest album tomorrow January 15th, Glass Castles. The album pulls from so many genres it is hard to tie to just one category, with sounds of Americana, folk, rock, blues and country, some songs hinting at a Dylan or Neil feel. When I think about a glass castle, a sense of fragility and vulnerability come to my mind. Something grand but easily breakable. Writing this new album, Adkins says “This is definitely the most vulnerable I have been, releasing this album. But writing it came natural and just flowed, it came from a good place.” Hear what else he had to say when I got to chat with him about Glass Castles and his writing. I will be posting more in my review tomorrow with the official release!
– Andrew Adkins is?
I’m a songwriter. Born and raised in NW Ohio. Living in Nashville, TN. I love nothing more than writing songs and creating music.
– Describe your sound.
I have no idea. I’m influenced by so many different things and so many varied genres of music. As a matter of fact, I don’t really look at genres at all.
I just hear “good” or “bad”. If it moves me, it moves me. That being said, I soak up so much and have over the years. I just don’t sit down and write and think “Hmm, what style should I create today?” I just write and if it comes out sounding soft, acoustic and folky or loud, gritty with big guitars and drums it just happens. My material is all roots music rock and folk to me. My next project will probably be in more of the rock-vein. I think it’s that duality of me. I have my acoustic-side and I have my electric-side. I’m have nothing without them both. Believe it or not I actually have 2 electronic side projects; Luminous Pearls and Our Brother The Horse. I also have a project called Bedlam Hounds with Nashville songwriter Jess Brown (“A Little Past Little Rock”, “Rope The Moon”). We’re doing very bluesy rock material. We’ll be releasing music sometime this year.
– Why the name “Glass Castles” for the new album?
It’s named after a song of the same name on the album. However there’s another song on the album that really fits the aesthetic as well, “As Above As So Below”. That song deals with having this hardened, strong front but inside or behind closed doors you are so brittle and precarious. I feel the title sorta eludes to that. Complete vulnerability. This is definitely the most vulnerable I’ve been, in terms of songwriting and anything I’ve ever released. I was actually talking to a friend the other day. He said “You usually almost have a breakdown when you are working on material for an album! I didn’t notice you going through that this time around!” He’s so right! I’m usually in a dark, dismal place when I start the initial process of a new record. This time around I was in such a good place. It just flowed and was relatively such an easy process.
– What is your favorite song you have ever written?
That’s tough. “I’m Indestructible” from my last Colored Parade album has definitely been the most generous to me. It’s my most well-known song for sure. I really feel close to the songs from “Glass Castles”. I can say that these songs I am the most proud of. “Consisting of Love” might be my favorite. Then again I like “The River In All of Us”…then again “The Ballad of Wayne, WV” is a fave too. It’s too tough to pick one. Each song on the new album has some personal connection so it might just vary depending on my mood.
– What inspired the new album?
I’ve been trying to make this album for around 7 years. When I get in the studio and have all these tools at my disposal and my head just spins! I love it! I love having an open pallet to just create and be creative and just stretch my imagination. I always tend to go a bit overboard with arrangements, vocal parts (hence last year’s Colored Parade album). However, I’ve always wanted to just make a song-centric album. Very minimal in production, bells and whistles. I wanted to just do a collection of tunes that told stories. One of my all-time favorite albums is Townes Van Zandt’s “Live at The Old Quarter”. It’s a double-live album of Townes and his acoustic. No band, no production, just a songwriter sharing his songs. To this day each song from that album doesn’t sound right on the other albums with all the other instruments on them. Granted, I have a lot of instruments and some synths and various things throughout “Glass Castles” but I feel that the emphasis is on the songs, themselves.
– Your sound is such a mixture of genres, blues, americana, folk and country… What do you listen to?
I listen to so much. My music collection looks like a used record store. As I mentioned earlier, I listen to everything; blues, bluegrass, metal, hip-hop, jazz, classical, older-country, folk, EDM, ambient, Motown, old school metal/hard rock. I could go on and on. Lately and during the making of the new record I was listening to a lot of Simon & Garfunkle, Ennio Morriconne, KISS, Velvet Underground, Louvin Brothers, Tom T. Hall, John Prine, Steve Earle, Jimmy Webb, Jane’s Addiction, Giorgio Moroder, Iron Maiden, Motley Crue.
– Where is your favorite place in Nashville to listen to music?
I’ve come to really enjoy City Winery. However, you cannot find a better room than The Ryman.
– What is one song you wish you had written?
“Whispering Pines” by The Band or “Surf’s Up” by Beach Boys/Brian Wilson
A huge thanks to Andrew Adkins for this great interview! I hope you check out his new album Glass Castles out tomorrow, January 15th! Follow him on Facebook and Twitter and check his website for more updates.