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The Tennessean
January 20, 2003

Michael McAdam
A Million Miles
Permanent Records

I'd always thought of Mike McAdam as a versatile and inventive guitarist,  a guy whose instrumental work with Steve Earle, Foster & Lloyd, David Wilcox and others helped define the rockin' country fusion now called "Americana." Apparently, I was underestimating him.

In between sessions and sideman gigs, unbeknownst to most of the people who listen to him on a regular basis, McAdam wrote and recorded an album that should scare the pants off of some of his employers: If the side dude is this good, just why do we need the front dude? A Million Miles starts with the propulsive One Good Day, then just gets deeper (Right Before Your Eyes), sadder (Paper Thin) and weirder (the creepy Eden Avenue).

It's a hand-crafted sort of affair, so the vocals aren't ultra-polished and the songs don't burst from speakers with the same kind of crackle as could be heard on an Earle album. And the unremitting "your fault" sentiments of Thanks a Lot aren't as affecting as the clear-eyed self-studies that characterize the best of this lot. But A Million Miles' many charms make it impossible not to recommend.

The melodies are memorable, the guitar playing — particularly on a slide-dominated version of The Lion Sleeps Tonight and on the self-penned instrumental Stratisfaction (I Can't Get No) — is outstanding, and the whole album maintains a heart-first expressiveness that usually gets beaten out of veteran Music City pros. This one's not easy to find (best go online at cdbaby.com, or check the Local section at Tower Records), but it's well worth the trouble.

—Peter Cooper, Staff Writer

Available online at CDBaby
or at Plan 9 Records and Tower Records in Richmond, VA

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