Brand New Old Time Music
From '3 SONGWRITERS 3', a Rolk Roots Magazine article by Chris Nickson Aug/Sept 1995 It's the attitude of someone who's been around, knows the ropes, and loves music. Maturity can sometimes pay off. Ask Adie Grey. Like Lisa, she's also been playing for years and has recently released her debut album, Brand New Old Time Music (on Hey Baby! Records, and sampled on this very issue's free CD). If ever a record lived up to it's title, this is it. The songs may be new, but they're as comfortable as your favorite old chair; you feel as if you've been listening to them for half your life. Born and raised in Los Angeles, music was always a part of Adie's life - her granddad wrote music for the movies, and her cousins landed up in the Songwriters Hall of Fame. 'My parents had their hi-fi,' she recalls. 'They were both music fans, and they played a little bit in their high school I days, so they were buying early Simon & Garfunkel and Joni Mitchell, Burl Ives, Jean Ritchie. My father liked traditional American music.' By the time she was a teenager, Adie was borrowing his guitar, penning her own material and playing in whatever clubs would have her, exposing herself to all manner of influences. 'They used to introduce me as 'The girl who was out past her bedtime.' Living in Los Angeles,it's such a big market and you meet so many people, it's all connected. Just from being there and playing I had the good fortune to play with a lot of folks.' By the time she was 18, she was already making a living 'on and off' from her music, something she continued to do for several years. Then she met and married Dave MacKenzie. And the two of them began to look around for a place to live. 'When I was growing up, LA was pretty neat. By the end of the '80s it had become so totally corrupted, and as an adult it was impossible to feel good about the life we were living there. Dave isn't from LA anyway) so he was eager to get out of there, and I needed to move on, too. We a little more central in the country would help us get into more markets. But we figured we'd probably better consider more than one town. So we hopped around a little bit, to Austin and Nashville. But everybody we knew in Austin who was I really pursuing a music career was traveling to and from Nashville ail the time. We came to Nashville, really liked it, and moved. Once there, she and Dave (who's a very handy guitarist and songwriter) ban to get involved in the music scene, playing few shows and making friends. And eventually they decided it was time for ; Adie to record a bunch of their songs. As luck would have it, the timing was perfect for some friends to help out, which was how someone who's largely unknown comes to have talent like Albert Lee and Wynona Judd on her album. 'I guess a bunch of the Head, Hands & Feet guys were around LA when I first started playing clubs,' she says. I'd show up in bands and got to know them. Albert Lee impressed me as the nicest person I'd ever met in my life. I made a point of getting to know him. When we were going to make the album, I happened to be on the phone to his wife about some other stuff. She said he was going to be in Nashville, and he was receptive to playing. From there it just started snowballing. I mentioned to Wynona that l was doing the record. She offered to sing. I thought she was blowing smoke but she made a commitment. John Hartford is another friend of mine. Ranger Doug I've known since Riders ln The Sky first got together. They used to play at McCabe's Guitar Shop, where I worked.' When she and Dave first discuss the album, though, it looked like being a collection of live recordings. 'There's a song on it called Underneath The Tennessee Moon and that was recorded on the Folk Scene radio show. That was my favorite way of being recorded. When we decided to do the album, we thought about selecting things from live performances, but then we decided to use some newer material. And everything fell together.' While it's Adie's name on the CD her hubby's contribution to the proceedings shouldn't be undervalued. This is quite definitely a family affair. 'I've been fortunate to write with Dave. For the record I basically took stuff out of my current repertoire, and a lot of that stuff has been Dave's material. We both listen to a lot of Bob Wills, Chet Atkins, a lot of stuff from the Tin Pan Alley era, and that's our big influence.' And all the better it is for it. Brand New Old Time Music has a character that sets it well apart from the generic big hat, big hair, short skirt country of the '90s. It has heart, and more than a little soul. Adie Grey -- Brand New Old Time Music The title is truth in advertising. Adie Grey imbues original songs - written solo, in collaboration with husband Dave MacKenzie or written by MacKenzie - with a foot-tapping, neo-authentic sound. The songs all sound like they could be 60 year old, yet with modern sensibilities. Sh bridges the chasm between country and urban folk. MacKenzie contributes choice guitar picking to all of the cuts, with John Hartford donating banjo on several, and even a harmony or two thrown in by Wynonna Judd. The songs rang. From old. Timey to bluesy to country. The opening' defiant anthem 'I May Be Down (But ] Ain't Done)' kicks things off to a good start. 'On The South Side Of Town' brings to mind 'St. James Infirmary.' 'Underneath The Tennessee Moon,' recorded at KPFK in Los Angeles, revels in great low-key instrumental picking with dynamite solos by MacKenzie and Dick Fey on mandolin. Grey builds ominous impending fury in 'Hurricane's Comin'.' She captures one of the best musical descriptions of this natural phenomenon in very human terms. The use of dulcimer and bodhran add to the distinctive sound. You'll catch yourself humming the chorus of 'Better With Time' after the disc stops spinning. 'That Good Ol' Boy' sounds like it could be a Bessie Smith number. Grey's difficult-to-describe voice is neither sweet songbird nor gravel pit. She easily puts across the songs with an eminently listenable (and enjoyable) vocal quality. All told this sounds like few (if any) other singer-songwriter recordings, with it's refreshing old-fashioned approach, entertaining songs, and high quality musicianship. --R Warr Adie Grey -- Brand New Old Time Music Adie Grey also has some stellar help on her new CD in Wynnona Judd, John Hartford, Albert Lee (on banjo, guitar and mandolin), Dick Fegy, Ranger Doug and hubby Dave MacKenzie, who wrote or co-wrote with Grey all but one of the tunes. Grey sings and plays dulcimer, and harmonizes with herself, but doesn't play the electric guitar she's holding in the cover photo (taken by Kris Kristofferson). The music is just what the title says - old time country/folk music, and continues the tradition of MacKenzie's earlier title on this label of excellent music. 'Mr. Roy' is a tribute to Roy Acuff, to whom the album is dedicated. Not that I would be inclined to, but I cam fault any of this music, it's very comfortable to this country boy's ears. She's a fine singer, and I like every one of these songs. This musical approach is not so demanding of your attention (both physically and mentally) as much modern music, and therefore probably more deserving of it. I've about had it with productions that are in your face by way of proving they deserve your attention.