Published on April 22nd, 2014 | by TLV News0
Talbot Adams: Beyond The Black And Whites
Talbot Adams will be playing at The End Of All Music and Ajax Diner on April 25th, and at Snackbar on April 30th
Talbot Adams is a prolific songwriter, and plays both a mean guitar and a steady bass. He even dabbles in drumming. (Not to mention that he’s one of the nicest guys you might ever meet.) But what’s always shined through is his songwriting, the text, the heart and soul of his music.
Talbot, a New Orleans native who has called Oxford home since the early 2000s, has worked with some amazing veteran regional musicians: he was in The Royal Pendletons from 2000–02 and then from 2003–05 The Dutch Masters in Memphis with Eric Oblivian, Scott Rogers, and Pat McKeage. He played bass for Oxford’s own Jenny Jeans with Rogers, Tyler Keith, and Twinkle VanWinkle. And those who’ve been in Oxford for any time remember The Black And Whites, a Punk outfit fronted by Talbot, with Johnny Valiant on guitar and Pat McKeage on drums. Jay Reatard put out their first single, and the band put out a great full-length on Douchemaster record label in 2008; after that year’s tour, though, The Black And Whites wore down, and they officially broke up in 2011. “I Need a Good Girl” from their one album is still one of my favorite songs to ever come out of Oxford.
Talbot has been writing music solo since 2010, when he got back into it after spending some time with his wife and two young boys. The resulting recordings show maturity, the product of a songwriter growing over the years along with his music. Talbot’s ultimate solo recording thus far, though, is the self-titled album just released: Talbot Adams, also featuring Oxford’s Beau Bourgeois on drums and Matt Patton on bass. The opening track, “Nashville Avenue,” is about “enduring grief and loss and driving in New Orleans on the day that it all started to finally lift off my shoulders,” according to Talbot’s website—and this song sets the tone for the album: optimistic. I like Talbot’s succinct summaries of his songs—just more open windows into his meaning. You can hear his history with The Black And Whites in songs from the new album, like “Same Old Things Again,” which is “A song about the average, stressed out, working person with a lot of bad habits.” We can all relate to that, right? My personal favorite on the album is “Broken Dream.” Simply summed up: “Change is no fun.” But change is inevitable, and the lyrics of the songs on this album give us all a little advice on how to deal with that change, even embrace it. —Intro & photos by Rebecca Long
Q&A with Talbot Adams
You’re from New Orleans originally, right? How long have you been in Oxford?
I have lived here for 11 years. But, Oxford has always been my second home, as my dad’s family is from here.
What’s your favorite instrument?
Bass, but I have played bass for so long, that I was ready for a break. So, I’m playing guitar these days, which is fun. I love playing drums, but am really limited in what I can do on the drums.
How did you learn to play?
Piano lessons as a young kid, of which I remember none, unfortunately. My dad gave me my first guitar when I was 10. I took guitar lessons from age 12 to 14, then went from there on the bass.
What was the first concert you witnessed?
Grew up as a young kid going to Jazz Fest in NOLA with my parents, where I saw amazing artists like James Brown, Bo Diddley, Chuck Berry and Fats Domino. The first concert I ever went to on my own initiative was R.E.M. In 88 or 89, when I was in middle school. Green Tour at The Lakefront Arena in NOLA.
What would you call your music style/genre?
Hard to say. Singer/Songwriter Rock?
What bands/artists most influenced the new record?
Sonic Youth, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Jesus and Mary Chain, The Equals, and Big Star are the influences I hear in the record when I listen to it.
Do you have a favorite band?
Geez. Tough question. I would say The Rolling Stones if I had to pick just one.
You’ve been part of the Oxford music scene for a while now. What are your favorite things about the scene, and what would you like to see change?
I think right now is the best era of the Oxford music scene that I have ever seen. There have always been two or three good bands from here going back the last twenty years. Now it seems like there are 9 or 10. I would like to see musicians get paid a bit better. Most rock musicians have never gotten a raise from the five dollar cover, which was standard for a rock show 25 years ago. Also, a lot of bar owners don’t appreciate bands and pay them poorly, when the band may bring in 30 or 40 hard drinking people that wouldn’t have been there otherwise were it not for the band. Plenty of nights where one bartender makes more than the entire band. That’s one of the many things that makes music a tough endeavor to be in.
What’s your favorite musical project you’ve worked on so far?
This last album, hands down. Went very smooth and was just fun to do. Very low stress. Beau Bourgeois did a great job with recording the album.
Do you have a “day job”? If so, where?
I primarily work as a psychotherapist in a nursing home. Tough job, but I love the people I work with.
Where do you like to hang out in Oxford?
City Grocery Bar, Ajax, Snackbar, and Lamar Lounge are my favorite places to hang out.
Any more upcoming shows or future plans you’d like to share?
Yeah! I’m recording a single this spring that will be out on a British label called Market Square Recordings this fall. I will also be doing some regional shows around the south this summer. That’s about as much as I can tour. Just weekend trips. But, we’ll see.
Should we expect it to be you and Beau on stage together, or do you know of some other musician friends who might be joining you on stage for those dates?
Colin Sneed as well. I’m really lucky to play with Beau and Colin. They are both great, versatile musicians. Also, Print Chouteau has played with us in the past and may play again perhaps. He has also been really great to have in the band.
Anything else you’d like to add?
I want to give a shout out to Spacecase Records, who put my album out—great label, great people. Check out www.spacecaserecords.com. Also, check out www.talbotadams.com for updates on shows as well as recordings.