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Peter Bradley Adams
Traces
Sarathon Records
www.peterbradleyadams.com


If we use the titles of Peter Bradley Adams' records as an indicator, then we can safely perceive distinct phases of a relationship since his disbanding of Eastmountainsouth, or possibly about the "break-up" of that band. Adams' first solo record was Gather Up, and spoke much about the immediacy of coming to terms with the dissolution of a deeply loving relationship. Leavetaking was more focused on the actual act of leaving, the separation between hearts that occurs during that same dissolution. Traces, the latest in the story, is much more reflective, taking stock of things that happened and motives that led to the ending of this relationship. As the albums have progressed there has also been a distinctive turning from a heavier - albeit still relatively light - sound, with drums and bass, to a much sparser and more open signature, based almost exclusively in acoustic guitars and the occasional string.

The record begins with the most upbeat of the tracks, the beautiful and highly melodic "Family Name". This is the track that most readily fits into Adams' previous catalog, with a swaying rhythm and a slowly building dynamic that peaks and falls more in feeling than in sound. The melancholy "For You" begins the true heart of the record, with its magnificently finger-picked guitars and light acoustic strums, and Adams' voice sweetly crooning, "If your lover ever leaves you and you find yourself with no one left to lose/you don't have to be alone, take the road that leads you home/ and I'll be waiting there for you." The dark introspection flows on tracks like "I Cannot Settle Down", a softly picked track that questions life, memories, and motives for living. This track digs deep into the heart of a man and finds restlessness, joy, and pain… all in the hopes of finding some semblance of peace. Gentle piano carries "From The Sky" along its beautiful plodding, searching for ways to soothe the ache and re-live the splendor of love. "Something 'Bout You Lately" relives memories and seeks answers to the universal human questions of regret and desire and loss. The drums make another appearance hear. Softly moving the pace of the track along in a warm shuffle as Adams' voice takes on a somber and gritty tone that enhances the magnificence of the track.

Peter Bradley Adams began a journey of discovery and life-story telling with his amazing Eastmountainsouth project and has continued the trip on his solo outings. Traces is packed with deeply heartfelt and introspective songs that relax the spirit while questioning life and all of its devices as they relate to interpersonal relationships. It is a deep record and one that is imbued with healing powers, calming and spiritually balming. These songs are beauty in one of its most simple and perfect forms.

-Embo Blake

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