Roadhouse album review: “Soulful Distancing” an outstanding first effort from Adam Schultz

Adam Schultz — “Soulful Distancing” (Blue Heart Records, July 16)

It’s hard to know where to start praising this excellent, bluesy, soulful and smartly crafted album.

Probably with the major contributions of the artist whose name is on the cover — Adam Schultz, an 18-year-old guitar wizard and songwriter, who, collaborated with with Clarence Spady, Schultz’s mentor. Spady had released his own album, “Surrender,,” in May that featured Schultz on three tracks, “If Life Was a Book”, “Down Home Blues” and “Good Conversation,” written by Schultz.

But back to Schultz.

His smooth guitar work underpins this album — there are a variety of seasonings from jazz, rock, blues and soul to bring out the full flavor of the music.

A couple of blues chestnuts kick things off — “A Real Mother For Ya” by Johnny Watson, and Louis Jordan’s “Early in The Mornin’,”  both featuring Spady’s gritty vocals and some nifty sax. Schultz’s original “Good Conversation,” also on Spady’s “Surrender,” takes gentler tone and a funkier little beat, adding a vocal turn by Michael Angelo.

A chunky Little Walter tune, “Who (Who Told You),” follows, again with Spady’s bluesy pipes. Then there’s a smoky jazz-club-sounding track written by Schultz and Aviva Verbitsky, “Have Some Faith,” with Russian-born songstress Ekat Pereyra taking a sweet lyrical turn amid some cool guitar licks. And the closer is another classic, “44 Blues,” toughening up the guitar work a little behind more Spady vocals.

There’s a lot more great music here, but you get the idea. This is a fine album full of music that’s not content to sit in one genre or style all the way through, and that can be hard to pull off, but these talented folks and their crack studio musicians do just that. And don’t forget, Schultz is just 18 — with a depth and musicianship well beyond his years.

And just in case you’re interested, I wrote about Clarence Spady’s excellent “Surrender” a few months ago.

And here is some additional background on Schultz.

Here’s a video of “Good Conversation”:

Tracklist:

  1. A Real Mother For Ya  4:33
(Johnny Watson, Songs of Universal, Inc. o/b/o Vrijon Music — feat. Clarence Spady)
  2. Early in The Mornin’  4:55
(Louis Jordan, Cherio Corporation, Ocheri Publishing Corp. — feat. Clarence Spady)
  3. Good Conversation  5:03
(Adam Schultz, Bluescope Music — feat. Michael Angelo)
  4. Harlem Tonight  3:58
(Adam Schultz, Bluescope Music — feat. Michael Angelo)
  5. Who (Who Told You)  3:43
(Bernard Roth, Sunflower Music Inc. — feat. Clarence Spady )
  6. Have Some Faith  4:27
(Adam Schultz & Aviva Verbitsky, Bluescope Music — feat. Ekat Pereyra)
  7. Cure For The Blues  4:52
(Adam Schultz, Bluescope Music — feat. Michael Angelo)
  8. Toxic Medicine  4:17
(Adam Schultz, Bluescope Music — feat. Michael Angelo)
  9. Can I Change My Mind  4:14
(Barry Despenza and Carl Wolfolk, Warner-Tamerlane Pub Corp. — feat. Clarence Spady )
10. Cut You Loose  4:46
(Mel London, Bug Music o/b/o Lonmel Publishing, Inc. and Conrad Music — feat. Clarence Spady )
11. 44 Blues  5:08
(Roosevelt Sykes, BMG Bumblebee — feat. Clarence Spady)
 

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