Stomp The Floor

Arthur Adams

Delta Groove, 2009

http://www.arthuradamsband.com

REVIEW BY: Michael Broyles

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 03/26/2010

At times, weeks can feel like a lifetime. Then again, sometimes you can live a lifetime in a few days. Such was my life this past weekend – love gained and lost, friendships fractured and repaired, apologies and forgiveness duly delegated, and life’s frailty laboriously pondered. It may have been an accident that I chose to review guitarist and vocalist Arthur Adams’ Stomp The Floor on this Sunday evening, but it all seems so…purposeful.

My delusions aside, Adams’ music is epic. I do not mean this in the extravagant sense, although one could make that argument. More so, I mean that Adams captures the nuanced complexity of human existence. The album title, Stomp The Floor, is misleading. This album is much more introspective than extroverted. Even the title track, a laidback, R&B blues-croon, describes dancing as more visceral than playful. Adams sings, “Hurry now / Don’t be late / I’m in the mood and I just can’t wait / You shake up my adrenaline.” Contrast this with, say, Sly Stone’s “Dance To The Music.” The song “Stomp The Floor” is not referring to a communal dance but rather an intimate experience.

Adams is a blues-cat at heart, but his smooth voice and charismatic songwriting expand his blues basis into jazz, pop, and soul. Take “Thrive On Your Vibe,” a Benson-esque peppy pop song with a sing-able melody and catchy lyrics. Or “Around The Sun,” a modern jazz instrumental with an infectious groove and memorable melody. Not too mention that Adams’ solos venture seamlessly into the world of Wes Montgomery and Django Reinhardt. my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Nonetheless, Adams’ blues is as authentic as you can get. With songs like “You Can’t Win For Losing,” “Don’t Let The Door Hit,” “You Got That Right,” and “Nature Of The Beast,” Adams overwhelms the listener with electric catharsis, channeling the spirits of Howlin’ Wolf and Muddy Waters. In the words of MC Hammer, Adams is “Too Legit To Quit.”

My favorite track is “So Sweet,” a heartfelt love song. With a melody worthy of Smokey Robison and an execution worthy of The Commodores (think “Night Shift”), “So Sweet” has the strange ability to make me simultaneously sad and happy. Adams’ lover may be sweet, but his song is beautifully bittersweet.

To be honest, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this record. It lay in the middle of my stack of independent albums and I delved into it expecting another standard, repetitive blues attempt. I was blown away by Adams’ musicality. As both a guitarist and vocalist, Adams goes from blues to pop to neo-jazz without losing his unbreakable sense of self. It was after listening to the record that I read the liner notes and discovered that he played bass and composed for Nina Simone. Like Simone, Adams is a confident, entrapping musician.

My one gripe with the album – and it is a big one – is that its production sounds amateurish. The keyboards are inauthentic, the bass and drum tones lack intensity, and the guitar timbre is weak and hollow. This accounts for the “B” rating, for no matter how good the music is, I will always be bothered by poor production. Do not let this stop you from listening to this album. It is still worth your time and money.

The best description for Stomp The Floor is found in the second paragraph: epic. Lovers go, friendships fall apart, people live and die, and, as William Butler Yeats famously asserted, things fall apart. At the same time, new lovers arrive, new friendships form, and new creations happen every day. Adams beckons us to remember that these events are not meaningless; rather, they are of upmost importance. So “let’s go out and stomp the floor tonight.”

Rating: B

User Rating: Not Yet Rated


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