You've got to respect the ability of a singer-songwriter to stand on their own in a very revealing way. Usually armed with only a guitar and their voice, they stand before everyone, vulnerable with their songs and performances. Baltimore-based Adam Randy drops his first two new singles in over a decade, taking his songwriting to another level. Adam has the life experience of living through what are now influential music styles which adds a level of authenticity to his songwriting. With ease, he pays homage to certain eras in music while still flexing his ability to write solid songs. I give an overview of my experience growing up listening to similar music, with more questions answered in our audio interview you'll find at the end of this article.
Singer-Songwriter "Don't Play" In His Comeback
"Don't Play" is actually Adam Randy's second track released so far, however, this is the latest from the Baltimore-based singer-songwriter, and working from his latest is my preference. I'd also like to take more of a learner's approach using music theory to better understand the writing process, a breakdown of where the ideas take place. I could be wrong on some of these things but that's the point. Ever notice how unless you know a bit of music theory, or you're looking at the sheet music, those things aren't available? So, I'm gonna geek out a bit here.
This track starts with a downslide bass note right before a dramatic rock guitar strumming on a whole note in the first measure, resonates to the second before it strums again. While this is going on, there's the 4/4 beat with the piano that sets up the foundation of the track. I'm definitely getting some country rock here but dramatics fall away on the 11th measure when the Gary Numan-like vocals come in. This is further confirmed by the background synths. It's easy to shake off the country opener that I thought would dominate the entire track but it doesn't.
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From a narrative standpoint, this track is a "tough guy," and even more so when Adam accents it with sporadically but controlled electric guitar rock riffs. A highlight for me is the retro-fitted pre-guitar solo. Another solo comes in later but it doesn't take the lead as this one has. It's so effective that I can't ever hear this song without it!
As far as messaging goes; I recall when I would hang out with a group of friends that a couple would be in a tumultuous relationship. I found myself helping one of them through it because I wanted the group to stay together. To think that I was so young and naive that the group would hold forever, right? The fact is that everyone has a line, one that is crossed sooner than later. This character's line is one you don't cross. This could be Adam's angriest track that he's ever released. He might admit to that too but it's been at least a decade since he's put out an album and to hear this kind of energy is exciting. We talk about this in our interview that you'll find at the bottom of this page.
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Adam actually released this as his first single in over a decade last October. It's appropriate that this song is about the writing of the song itself. After 11 years, a return to releasing a batch of new singles (more to come btw) is to come up with another song. This track starts off with the guitar strumming you would hear in Neil Diamond's "Cherry Cherry". We often talk a lot about how musicians were impacted during the pandemic. For a musician who might have wanted to get back to writing new material, many share the pandemic as being that time. This track leaves the impact to motivate the artist to get to it despite any of the goings on. Despite the reluctance, the familiarity of picking up that instrument is like putting one foot in front of the other.
Here I include a collection of songs in the order they play from his self-titled album.
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Interview with Adam Randy
I should have recorded it but I had the recording paused as we were connecting. Since Adam Randy is a big Neil Diamond fan, to test out the audio I did the Diamond version of Marco Polo with "Sweet Caroline", but Adam was laughing too much to respond with "pa, pa, pa." Anyway, we talk about the Jewish Elvis because I grew up with my dad getting me a copy of Jonathan Livingston Seagull. We also discuss his writing process and what's coming down the pike!