Photo courtesy of Auset Sarno

We reviewed Adam’s EP/mini album as One Adam One in March this year and it was a beautiful piece of work. We’re pleased that he’s agreed to take part in our annual end-of-year feature and share some of his favourite things from 2023 and equally pleased that he absolutely bought in to the random concept of the High Fives.

The High Lonesome Voice That Hit Me Hard

It took him 15 years to make a record. My kind of guy.

This is the age of rabbit holes and I fell down another one when I saw this Dean Johnson performance of “True Love” on Country AF (very chill, authentic, obscure songwriter video channel). Dean’s voice is sincere and effortless and drop-dead gorgeous. He put out an EP earlier this year, right around when I released mine…so I feel like he’s my brother in off-the-grid indie twang.

The Cheap, Gimmick-y Looking Gadget That Turns Out to Be Ingenious

How can a gentle hair care device look this menacing?

I stumbled into a conversation between younger gals raving about this new thing called a silicon scalp scrubber. I thought for a moment, “Well, that’s just for women.” But then I looked at them and they all had beautiful, healthy hair, while I have this sort of sad, stringy man hair that looks like it belongs in a medieval village. Who was I to deny their superior grooming wisdom? This soft little f-er is a game changer.

The Strange Podcast that Dances in My Ears

This guy is a lot nicer than he looks.

Iain Sloan of the Wynntown Marshals hipped me to the Blindboy Podcast and I often tune in when I don’t feel like listening to music. Don’t let the strange profile pic of the host in some sort of head bandage turn you off. The Blindboy is a master spinner of yarns and whip-smart contrarian. He can turn a story of a cat dying under his porch into an elegy of companionship and natural wonder. And, his lilting voice is ASMR-level soothing.

The Strange Novel from a Parallel Universe

I knew these people. They went to my church.

When one of my favorite writers announced he was doing a book based on the family of a pastor in suburban Illinois in the 70s, I was a little freaked out. In real life, I was raised in the household of a pastor in suburban Illinois in the early 80s. I wasn’t sure I wanted an author of such skill applying his scalpel so closely to the heart of my childhood memories. I took the plunge this year and read Jonathan Franzen’s “Crossroads”. Thankfully, my family was not as dysfunctional, and the time era is slightly offset, but I recognized a LOT of it. And it’s brilliant.

The Pure Animal Energy that Revitalizes Me

I got a new dog this year and he’s a bit of a wild animal. I am very fond of him, but sometimes it feels like he just wandered in the back door to steal some food. Slowly, he’s melting under the spoils of civilization. Just recently he did the unthinkable — he rested his chin on my leg! I almost had to sleep sitting up because I didn’t want to disturb the best feeling of 2023. 

Paralyzed by bliss

‘Where Do I Begin’ is a perfect example of the way digitisation and the internet has changed the music business. The conventional business wouldn’t know how to deal with it; five songs (OK, six if you count the no-swearing version of ‘Living Between the Lines’) is too much for an EP and not enough for an album (unless they’re eight-minute prog rock epics). Cutting out the major label bureaucracy means that if you have five great songs that hang together well, you can get it to the market fairly easily and call it a mini album. That’s exactly what Adam Reichmann and Todd Schnitzer have done with their debut as One Adam One.

The album’s almost a two-man show with Reichmann and Schnitzer singing and playing everything apart from some background vocals from Stephanie Stewart and a bit of baritone guitar from John Horton. Two things defining the album are the layers of instruments and vocals created by producer Todd Schnitzer and the fragile, vulnerable vocal of Adam Reichmann, at times on the edge of cracking completely, combining to create a beautiful melancholy feel across the five songs using all of the country/Americana palette (including pedal steel) and even a bit of harpsichord. The layering of tracks and use of reverb create an other-worldly feel that emphasises the melancholy style of the slow tempos and the vulnerability of the lead vocals.

Apart from the uptempo ‘Cold Murmurs’ with its driving tempo, lovely harmonies and maybe a hint of Tom Petty’s ‘Running Down a Dream’. It’s a song of renewal and optimism that offers a vivid contrast to the more downbeat songs that dominate the album. The opening song, the appropriately titled ‘Where Do I Begin’, builds from a gentle strummed acoustic intro to a full band arrangement with synths as the lyrics tell a story of hopelessness and helplessness after a broken relationship, while the closer, ‘Platte River’, is a slow, organ-driven, piece of nostalgia for a lost place, time and relationship.

‘Hollywood Ending’ has an arrangement that builds to a big finish as the lyrics explore the gulf between real life and the media presentation of life; it’s powerful stuff. Finally, ‘Living Between the Lines’ (my personal favourite) has an ominous reverbed guitar intro before Adam Reichmann’s vocal comes in the higher end of his range, almost cracking at times. The song tells the story of the unsung and unnoticed who do all of the things that we take for granted. The chorus is absolutely gorgeous.

‘Where Do I Begin’ is five great songs, arranged cleverly to enhance the melancholy content of the songs and, ultimately, the upbeat sense of rebirth in ‘Cold Murmurs’. It may only be five songs, but it creates a sense of sadness, anger and nostalgia before taking a more positive turn. The album is a lovely snapshot of the genesis of One Adam One; I’m hoping there’s a lot more to come.

‘Where Do I Begin’ is released on Die Trying Records in the UK on Friday March 31st.

Don’t just take my word for it, here’s the video for ‘Living Between the Lines’: