Written & compiled by Johanna J. Bodde - February 27th, 2015
Radio Programmer--The Netherlands
The album starts off immediately with one of the duets. Doug sings with his friend Peter Rowan, the humorous "High Roller". He describes the roots music icon like this in his liner-notes: "Grizzled, wizened, knower of silence and the long road, whose blue yodel takes us on a shamanic ride from the hills of old Kentucky to the mountains of Bhutan." Later on the gorgeous National Steel guitar gets more well-deserved attention, together with Doug's experienced fingerpicking.
Doug is a very good songwriter too, when it comes to traditional folk songs. Although I never saw him live in concert, I understand very well how he became such a popular entertainer in the Bay Area. It's only him and his guitar, but the staggering amount of seventeen new songs never becomes boring in any way. "Business As Usual" ends in a very smart way with the auctioneer imitation. In flowing folk blues "Why You Wanna" the harmonica shows up for the first time. Wonderful! Same compliment goes for "High Class Lady". Then Peter Rowan duets with Doug again in "Stranger On The Street", sort of a Southern gospel folk ballad about a transient nobody wants to meet. Very nice touch, the hummed chorus! "Mr. Huffin Puffer" is a super fast and super cool harmonica instrumental, Doug showing off his considerable talents on that little instrument.
Plenty of variety in playing and clever words, mostly around the theme: addressing the recent economic meltdown in authentic old-time spirit. Never too heavy, with lots of humor in the 'never let them get you down' mood, keeping up the spirits of hard working people, who always are on the receiving end. Many remarkable eccentric characters pass by, like "Cholly & Molly" or Kamikaze Kitty and her lover Timmy dancing in "Rock Bottom" or truck driver Cecil in his rig "The House Of Curiosities" and let's not forget "Only The Wolfman"! Of course every music lover will find his or her own favorites there, humor is a very personal thing.
Centerpiece is a loving long (5m22s) "Ode To An Old Guitar" - born in the year of the great Wall Street Crash, "A Time For Peace" is a pretty instrumental and the album ends with another one, stunning fingerpicking piece "Can't Complain Coda".
Doug Adamz is a less serious version of Woody and Arlo Guthrie, there's also some Loudon Wainwright III, a little bit of Kinky Friedman, David Olney and Phil Lee. Doug's big PLUS: he plays this National Steel Guitar, a harmonica and -understatement- he's quite fabulous at it!