MCADAM'S CALLING CARD; NEW CD SHOWCASES HIS SINGING, SONGWRITING
AND PRODUCING TALENTS
by Bill Craig
Richmond native Michael McAdam
has been suffering from an image problem.
If you've been hanging around
Central Virginia's clubs and bars for more years than you want
to admit, you probably know McAdam as a charter member of the
Good Humor Band.
If you're Mary Chapin Carpenter,
Steve Earle, Radney Foster, Lee Roy Parnell, Matraca Berg or
any of the other Nashville, Tenn., cats that McAdam has recorded
and/or toured with, you know he's one of Music City's most in-demand
But unless you're McAdam's
mama, you might not know that he's a darn good singer and songwriter,
too. And McAdam wants to change that.
"I'm known as a guitar
player and that's about it. Hardly anyone knows that I write.
Nobody knows that I produce records," McAdam explained
over the phone from his Nashville home. "I wanted to have
an album as a calling card of sorts so that people in Nashville
in the music business here and elsewhere would know that I do
a little bit more than just play guitar."
That calling card, in the
form of McAdam's brand-new CD, "A Million Miles,"
is now a reality.
During the past four years
or so, McAdam worked on his own project in between the session,
production and touring work he regularly does for other artists.
"I have a recording
studio here [in Nashville]. When I'd write a song, I'd go up
to the studio and demo it," he said. "I had four or
five demos of songs that I really liked and I decided that if
I had four or five more like those that I could make a pretty
good record. Four years ago, six or seven songs were done, recorded
and mixed. I finished the last four songs in the past eight
He did most of the work himself,
with the help of his partner, Jack Irwin, who engineered the
"I was just layering
guitars, mandolins, dobros and bass and drums and playing a
lot of that myself and keyboards, too," McAdam said. "On
some of the later stuff, I got some friends to come in and put
together a rhythm section and play bass and drums with me."
McAdam has spent a ton of
time backing up some of country and Americana music's best talent.
But if you're expecting the next, great Nashville alt-country
effort, you might be disappointed.
He's included some well-placed
twang, a couple of ballads and a nicely done cover of "The
Lion Sleeps Tonight," but "A Million Miles" has
as much great rock as anything.
"I didn't want to make
a Nashville album; there are plenty of people here who do that.
I was just drawing on some of the influences that I grew up
with like the Beatles, the Stones and the Byrds. There's even
one song on there that's kind of a Burt Bacharach song with
the obligatory trumpet solo and everything. When I was growing
up in the '60s, you could hear all that stuff on the radio and
I liked it all."
McAdam found great joy in
recording and producing his own CD. But he's less enthusiastic
about promoting the album, the first item on his New Year's
"I've been touring with
Radney Foster and am out promoting his new album and I may be
opening some shows for him. I'm going to do the whole Internet
thing and tie to all the Web sites of all my friends that I've
played with," he said. "This isn't fun though. Making
it and the creative process is fine, but I do not like trying
to promote a record."
Initial feedback, especially
from McAdam's colleagues in the business, has been favorable.
"I've been getting pretty
good reviews from all of my friends and artists alike. I'm getting
a lot of good phone calls and even letters from people saying
how much they were blown away by the record because they didn't
know that I could sing, write or produce."
GOOD HUMOR BAND
When: 8 p.m. Saturday
Where: The Canal Club, 17th and Dock streets
Cost: $10 in advance; $12 at the door
Details: (804) 643-CLUB
or at Plan
9 Records and Tower Records in Richmond, VA