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An online magazine 2013-16. Artists on artists. Music, food, travel, art and culture. Now a tribute to our late editor Susie Surtees (2/6/53-22/7/18)

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Artists on Artists

Elementary Carnival Blues (2016)

On 06, Mar 2016 | In Artists on Artists | By jane…carnival-blues/ ‎

Adam Young’s debut album—‘Elementary Carnival Blues’—entered my world on the way back to Sydney from Illawarra Folk Festival. I was sitting in the back seat of a mate’s car, the Bulli clay drying on our boots as the waning late afternoon sun streamed through the glass. We were mildly hung over, satiated by the fun we’d had, and Young’s songs provided the final decadence of the weekend.

The album begins with “Ghost Song”. This is the kind of lazy country I love. It’s a considered laziness, sitting at the back of the beat, allowing the pedal steel to glide like a long-winged bird over the rolling train wheels of the rhythm section and Young’s magnificent voice, steady and dense, punctuating it all. “Leave the light on for an old friend”.

These are great songs performed well. It’s a simple formula, but deceptively difficult to achieve  and Young and his band of musicians do it again and again. The straight ahead, guitar-heavy “Queen Of The Plains” with a soaring horn instrumental, the driving “The Top Of The Mountain” with hillbilly mandolin and Young deftly moving his voice into some of its grittier corners, and the persistent four on the floor of “Racing Trains”, a great album finisher.

“Elementary Carnival Blues” has its gentler moments too including “The New West”, a duet with Katie Brianna, who also plays guitar with Young on the track while Jason Walker provides wistful Pedal Steel. This album took me to a lot of different places, that day on the M1 and during my subsequent listens, of which there’s been many. It’s a great travelling album. A record for the road. Best enjoyed in a car that has good friends in it, all with sore heads and bursting hearts.


Review written by Liz Stringer for Mojo Junction – ‘Artists on Artists’


Listen and buy your copy of Elementary Carnival Blues here.

Check out more about Adam Young here.

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