Mark Adams Releases Band New Album 'California Bound'
Hailing from California’s Central Coast, The Mark Adams Band is a true
labor of love for its jack of several trades’ bandleader. Mark Adams is
a musician, winemaker, and farmer who runs the famed Paso Robles winery
Ledge Vineyards whose performances are staples on Central California’s
NPR station, San Luis Obispo radio station KCBX. His work has also found
its way onto network television, SiriusXM, and an assortment of
terrestrial radio stations.
It’s the latest evolution in a professional musical journey that began
with a tenure as sound editor for the television series Arrested
Development and fronting country rock purveyors Rancho Deluxe. The
latter outfit collaborated with such luminaries as Don Heffington,
Jaydee Maness, and others. His band’s new album California Bound
continues developing his individualistic vision for modern country rock
with producer Tim Bluhm complementing his artistry every step of the
With ten songs clocking in at a hair over thirty-seven minutes,
California Bound is concise yet entertaining fare. The relaxed
country-rock affectations of “She Was Crying” opens the release with a
lightly mournful rave-up before launching into the first verse. Adams
spikes its mid-tempo jaunt with biting electric guitar vamps and warm
organ lines under the surface of the mix help fill out the song’s sound.
Adams has a light touch with the song’s otherwise serious subject matter
that it further reflects in its playful rhyme scheme.
Memorable lyrics such as the opening lines “There’s something that you
do to me/that makes me tense/Like pulling cotton candy/through a barbed
wire fence” helps make “Tongue Tied” one of the album’s best cuts. He
tosses in memorable lead guitar for good measure, but it’s never a
self-indulgent touch. There’s a playful quality pervading this song as
well, but it’s much more pronounced than its predecessor. “King of the
Hill in Loserville” is a rollicking character study in miniature with
underlying piano that gives it extra oomph. A smattering of backing
vocals further sweetens the stew around the song’s chorus.
The title song “California Bound” is a simmering blues complete with
slide guitar touches during the track’s second half. The Mark Adams Band
unleashes tasty musical fireworks for this performance without
overstepping the cut’s mandate and it rates as one of the collection’s
best. Pedal steek guitar adorns the classic country lament “Little Old
Wine Drinker Me” and Adams’ affinity for the style is obvious throughout
the song. He uses backing vocals to great effect, once again, and the
composition’s easy amble is a nice contrast to the crackling prior song.
There are delectable tempo shifts scattered throughout the
acoustic-driven “Chasing After Margaritas” and it’s first-class musical
touches such as this that elevate the track above mere novelty. The
finale “Wait Until August” embraces a full-fledged classic country sound
peppered with light rock inclinations. Pedal steel makes a final
appearance on the album while never assuming the same prominence as it
does in earlier contributions. The song concludes California Bound on a
strong note. It’s such a relaxed, unassuming album that it may lull
listeners into underrating Adams’ abundant talents. Make no mistake,
however, this is first-class songwriting powered by exceptional
musicianship and you’ll be left wanting more.