Adam Pasion – O Hear the Rattling
Next time I see Jc Babb, I am going to shake his hand for awhile and order him a couple of drinks, on me. Babb, you see, sent me a message a couple of weeks ago cluing me in on a dude named Adam Pasion and whereas normally I would pass on recommendations (I am way behind on reviews/articles as it is), when Babb said that Pasion’s O Hear the Rattling! album was one of the best albums he’d heard this year if not the best, I couldn’t help myself. For one thing, Babb played guitar and sang on Copper & Glass’s self-titled album from last year (lucky you— you can download a free copy by clicking here) impressing me enough to listen to anything he has to say. For another, when the recommendation is stated in certain terms, it never fails to piqued my interest. I was, indeed, piqued.
The song Babb linked me to could not have been a better choice. “Schoolhouse Virginia” is a smooth, incredibly soulful look at the lost lives of a shooting in Virginia, a tribute of sorts and done so beautifully it catches me off-guard even after multiple hearings. I wrote to a dear friend not too long ago that numbers are deceptive— that we do not understand when we use them in regards to loss or death. Especially when the loss is counted in children. In my mind and heart, we do not lose 39 people but lose one 39 times. Think about it.
I don’t know how many were lost in the shooting but I remember the media coverage and all I could think was, how do you measure such a loss? You don’t, but at least when you measure it in one loss multiplied many times, you start to understand the enormity of it all. That was what was running through my mind the first time I heard “Schoolhouse Virginia”. That and who is Adam Pasion and how can he put into music that which I cannot even put into words?
I’ve done a little digging and I can tell you this much. Pasion is young. He is a religious man. He has depth, especially for one who has just started in life. And he is a songwriter of immense talent.
Musically, he is solidly invested in Americana, I suppose you might say, though I hate that term. He borrows from folk and country and the softer side of rock and melds it into a smooth mixture which supports his vocals (and that of a lady who sings with him on this album and does so beautifully) very well. Many songs have a melodic dirge-like sense about them, the beat slow but rhythmic. Vocals? He has a good if not great voice which captivates me and the vocal arrangements are killer. Instrumentally, acoustic and electric share the stage somewhat equally, volume falling and rising to fit each movement as it happens.
Truth is, I am beginning to think like my friend Jc. This is a good album. This is a damn good album. Maybe one of the best released this year. If it was released this year. There are conflicting reports. The Bandcamp page (click here to listen) lists the date as July of 2013. Other pages suggest that it was released a few years ago. Could this be a re-release? No matter. Four years ago or today, O Hear the Rattling! stands apart.
That click you hear is Adam Pasion locking himself into my consciousness. If all he had recorded was “Schoolhouse Virginia”, he would be locked in. On Rattling he gives us another twelve reasons to remember him. This is plain good stuff.