In stark contrast to Rosalie Cunningham, the evening’s special guest at The Giffard Arms was Lichfield Singer/Acoustic Guitarist Adam John. Describing himself as a mixture of rock, acoustic Metal and country, it would be fair and accurate to say that the principal instrument at work here was his deep, resonant voice.
The Giffard Arms, Wolverhampton – 9 June 2023
Words: Sophie James
Photography: John Inglis
Just those two basic ingredients combined to create an atmospheric, evocative sound from the off. Opener Gallows Calling would be an ideal addition to a Sons Of Anarchy soundtrack.
“This one’s off my first EP. I’ve made sure that you’ll never find it, but this one’s stuck with me.” Just Tonight is a wonderful slice of what I’d refer to as modern country rock, that most fascinating of genres whereby depending upon the song or arrangement, it could go in either direction.
“You should all know this one. Imagine if Linkin Park goes country. Well, it does when I do it.” The arrangement of In The End, with the impassioned vocal ascending way above the gentle strumming, worked magnificently. One could almost hear a pin drop in the room.
“A lot of the songs I write are dark and depressing, but this one is nice.” Forever Home is an uplifting song reflecting the entry into his life of someone who has made a real difference. “Dont care where I’ve been, only care where I’m going,” underlined the change in outlook. Given the full treatment, I foresee this as a stadium favourite, complete with a soaring solo. This, too, appeared to go down well with the early gatherers.
“A long time ago, I was going through a really shitty patch. If you’re going through something similar, believe me, it will get better. You will get through it.” With lines like “I spend so many nights with the voices in my head” and “I need somebody to see me,” and considering its optimistic predecessor, perhaps Getting High Don’t Work Anymore should have appeared beforehand.
When performing solo and acoustic, it affords an artist the opportunity to do something almost unheard of in a band set-up. “This was only written at 4 pm this afternoon, I had to write the lyrics down on my phone so I didn’t forget. It has a similar dark theme. Even when I’m happy, I still write dark shit.”
Such is the strength of the song, not to mention Adam’s belief in it, this too worked. While obviously extremely early in the song’s gestation, I feel that an added Harmonica would significantly enhance Coming To Collect’s plaintive melody.
The final song, Sinner, was introduced as “The Title Track of my Second EP, but I re-recorded it because it was dreadful.”
A raw, captivating performance that fused an impressive vocal talent with formidable compositional acumen. Such was the quality of the material, one could already audiate the full arrangements.
As Adam later explained, all his recordings to date have been given the full production, but while a full band event may be some way off yet, I would relish the opportunity to relive this performance in the same format and absorb the quality tuneage even deeper.