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ALBUM REVIEW: Andrew Adkins - Glass Castles
By Anastasia K - 03/27/2016 - 03:21 PM EDT

Artist: Andrew Adkins
Album: Glass Castles
Label: Electrahead Media
Genre: Alt-Folk/Americana/Blues
Sounds Like: Many influences
Technical Grade: 10/10
Production/Musicianship Grade: 10/10
Commercial Value: 10/10
Overall Talent Level: 10/10
Songwriting Skills: 10/10
Performance Skill: 10/10
CD Review: Every now and then you come across an album that makes you wonder how this artist is not on regular rotation on the radio. Nashville-based singer-songwriter Andrew Adkins is one such artist. Every song on this 13-track gem called “Glass Castles” is better than the previous one. Everything sounds so pleasantly familiar, but not because it’s been done before, but rather because it _belongs_ on the radio.

I can’t quite put my finger on who he sounds like, but that’s probably because – and I will echo what many before me have said – influences are from all over. Beautifully composed songs, honestly sung, with such emotion, and with the most engaging arrangements that keep you near your speaker/headphones… quite compelling.

The harmonica on the opening tune, coupled with the raw and soulful vocals, are good intro to the album. These are country-rock tunes about ghost towns, coal mines, with a dash of human elements thrown in, all woven together into perfect little parcels of finely-crafted musical tales. Not only are the lyrics and the song structures well-done, but the whole production is very commercial-friendly. It just “feels” like a success! And notable to mention, Andrew Adkins plays most of the instruments, which probably explains the balanced sound of these songs. Some of my favourites include “Old Coal Town”, with a strong melody and driving beat (and the vocals remind me of Colin James); “As Above So Below” is haunting, soulful, painful, hopeful; “May the Stars” is definitely radio-friendly and radio-worthy; “Two Steps from Heaven” has a minimalistic sound full of melody; and “Jubilee”… oh, that positively gospel-infused finale is exciting!
Most of the songs have an uplifting beat, regardless of their meaning. Andrew Adkins’ voice is clear and resonating, raw and edgy. This album has a refreshing sound that is so welcome when you listen to a lot music. And so full of energy; just try and stay seated, as some of these tunes force you to get up and stomp your feet and clap yours hands! Give in to it and enjoy!

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