|Blind Water Finds Blind Water
Adam Faucett — Blind Water Finds Blind Water
≈±≈ “His voice knocks your brain into the back of your skull” — The Onion A.V. Club
Location: Little Rock, Arkansas
Album release: March 11, 2014
Record Label: Last Chance Records
01. Day Drinker (4:18)
02. Melanie (5:10)
03. Edgar Cayce (4:21)
04. Walking Home Late (4:54)
05. Benton (4:41)
06. Poet Song (3:17)
07. Sparkman (4:29)
08. Opossum (3:46)
09. Killer On Staten Island (4:38)
10. Rock Ain't Gold (3:43)
℗ 2014 Last Chance Records
≈±≈ "From the opening note of the first track of Faucett’s new release Blind Water Finds Blind Water (Last Chance Records — 2014), it becomes clear that there is no holding back on this album. The emotionally raw “Day Drinker” sets the tone for a tour of unearthly themes set against the workaday backdrops of rural and suburban Arkansas. Sublime melodies mix tensely with characters who live in unsavory and haunted spaces. A Staten Island killer, an abusive ex-husband, and the 20th century "sleeping prophet" Edgar Cayce, all make appearances. Faucett, who says he “identifies more with the flood than the victims”, explains “the tunes of Blind Water take full responsibility for the irreversible damage.”
≈±≈ "Nothing can prepare you for the sound that comes out of his mouth when he sings — or bellows — his stellar songwriting. It is a soulful power beyond belief.”
— Paste Magazine
≈±≈ Hailing from Little Rock, Arkansas, and possessing a voice that the Onion A.V. Club warns “knocks your brain into the back of your skull”, Adam Faucett has drawn comparisons from Tim Buckley to Cat Power to Otis Redding.
≈±≈ Called “one of the greatest, most thoughtful lyricists the state has to offer.” (Arkansas Times) Faucett has again pushed the borders of his “part folk, part blues, part elemental rock stomp, part unidentifiable cosmic holler” (Arkansas Democrat Gazette) with the release Blind Water Finds Blind Water, a record of his most arresting and beautiful songs to date.
≈±≈ Faucett began performing solo in 2006 when the demise of Russellville, AR band Taught the Rabbits pushed him toward Chicago. He returned to Arkansas in 2007 to record his first solo album The Great Basking Shark, and began touring nationally. 2008’s Show Me Magic, Show Me Out followed, featuring Faucett’s band, The Tall Grass. A relentless touring schedule has led to shows with Jason Isbell, Damien Jurado, Chuck Ragan, and Lucero.
≈±≈ For the past two years, Adam has toured nationally and internationally in support of his third acclaimed release, More Like A Temple, which received praise from outlets including American Songwriter, Paste Magazine, No Depression and Uprooted Music Review. Temple also gained overseas support, landing at #14 on the EuroAmericana chart and receiving 5 stars from Altcountry.NL, bringing him to Europe for the first time.
≈±≈ From the opening note of the first track of Faucett’s new release Blind Water Finds Blind Water (Last Chance Records — 2014), it becomes clear that there is no holding back on this album. The emotionally raw “Day Drinker” sets the tone for a tour of unearthly themes set against the workaday backdrops of rural and suburban Arkansas. Sublime melodies mix tensely with characters who live in unsavory and haunted spaces. A Staten Island killer, an abusive ex-husband, and the 20th century "sleeping prophet" Edgar Cayce, all make appearances. Faucett, who says he “identifies more with the flood than the victims”, explains “the tunes of Blind Water take full responsibility for the irreversible damage.”
≈±≈ “Benton” and “Sparkman” reference two of the Arkansas towns where Adam spent his childhood, with the treatment of these stomping grounds blending reality and fiction to create Faucett’s own Arkansas Gothic vision. Deeply personal moments "Opossum", "Poet Song", and "Walking Home Late" are, according to Faucett, “all almost word for word true autobiographical accounts of my life in the not-so-Southern, not-so-Midwestern bastard state of mind that is Central Arkansas. This record, written on the run physically and emotionally, is a mapping of a moment guided by the whim and mercy of others. Water, blind and helpless moves not where it wants but where it’s allowed.”
By Ed Whitelock ♦ 3 September 2014; Score: 8
≈±≈ If you haven’t heard of Adam Faucett by now it’s not for a lack of effort on his part. A member of the now defunct Arkansas band Taught the Rabbits, a group atop many “shoulda been bigger” lists from that region, Faucett has self-released three solo records since 2007 and toured relentlessly in their support, each disc selling enough to fund the next project. With the release of his fourth record, Blind Water Finds Blind Water, on Last Chance Records, he is primed to become a major figure in the folk, roots, and blues scenes.
≈±≈ The first impression most gain upon exposure to Faucett’s work is of his voice, a nuanced instrument unto itself. He can shift from talk-singing a simple narrative, to a keening wail of frustrated passion, to a falsetto of self-reflection all in the space of a song. Like Richard Buckner, he often bends his songs to the intonations of the spoken voice and the patterns of conversation, leading to surprising and oftentimes rewarding shifts of focus and melody. Musically, Faucett’s sparse backing band (Jonny D., bass, and Will Boyd, drums) provides a full sound, often forsaking traditional melodic progressions for more impressionistic background patterns of sound in support of the lyrics, for Faucett’s words and voice are the justifiable focus of the proceedings.
Tony Pressley has dubbed Faucett “Arkansas’ truckstop poet laureate”, and the fanciful title isn’t too far-fetched. Faucett’s lyrical work evokes another Arkansas poet, Miller Williams, whose daughter Lucinda’s work also shares a blues-soaked, backwoods gothic aesthetic. Miller’s poem “Trying to Remember” could serve as an epigraph for this album: describing a muddy pond and a fish that teases but won’t take the bait, he says “Give it up. It will die in dark water.” Faucett’s songs, over and over, outline the beauty and sadness of striving, often blindly, for something greater than the self.
≈±≈ Opening track “Daydrinker” encapsulates the beauty of the whole album. A dissonant chorded intro leads to Faucett’s opening howl of “I have seen all I need to see. Nobody nowhere’s gonna outdrink me / It’s so lonesome in the afternoon when you’re the only one with nothing to do.” There follows a masterful portrayal of the perpetual dusk of an afternoon bar wherein time passes not by a clock’s ticking but by the clinking of empty bottles gathered, like days, in the waste bin. But there remains an awareness of the brighter world outside that the narrator works so hard to avoid and forget. Reflecting on the human relationships that have failed him, the narrator still must acknowledge the artifice of his escape, saying of a server, “She only calls me baby ‘cause she knows she’s getting paid.” This false world is but a diversion.
≈±≈ A martial drum beat and explosively distorted guitar intro leads into darkly brilliant kiss-off “Melanie”. Faucett sings, “Melanie I don’t want to hold hands, get killed by your ex old man / I know that we used to be friends, but no more.” In the voice of someone accustomed to being held at arm’s length but wising up to false promises, he concludes: “I know the way the world works: you get bored and then you get hurt.” The beautiful “Walking Home Late” offers an emotional counterpoint, capturing the simple act of its title, with Faucett’s narrator simply thinking of his beloved. Nothing, not “those thug kids” who might rough him up and rob him or the possibility of the sidewalk opening up to swallow him, can diminish his reverie. The music in the song progresses like nighttime footsteps, lightness in the dark with distorted echoes, evoking perhaps some distant thunder. But at this moment, in this place, all is fine.
≈±≈ “Benton” is a paean to Faucett’s hometown of Benton, Arkansas, coincidentally the location where Billy Bob Thornton filmed Sling Blade. Both the song and the whole of the album evoke that film in contemplating the complex mixture of beauty and darkness lived in the borderlands of the Deep South. “I’ll tell you a story,” Faucett sings, “don’t matter if it’s real.” “Edgar Cayce” is another song of striving, conjuring the mystical figure’s lasting influence on the fringes of the American imagination. The song evokes a time before the internet made every paranormal theory available at a click, a time when kids scanned Led Zeppelin album covers for hints about Aleister Crowley or snuck an older sibling’s copy of the Necronomicon out into the woods in a backpack to lead a mock séance. “We searched unprepared to take advice or a cosmic dare,” and Faucett pauses before concluding, “That’s the way we lose these bodies.”
≈±≈ Blind Water Finds Blind Water is the culmination of Faucett’s years of touring and writing on the road (but always reflecting upon home). A mature, complete work of stunning power, it is an album that celebrates the independence yet underlines the complexities of growing up in small town America. Its songs of striving are equal part darkness and light. Only 32, Adam Faucett is an artist worth embracing and following.
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