On the Ettes and Adele’s “country album,” not necessarily in that order
Like everyone else in the world, I’m picking up what Adele is putting down, so to speak.
With little to no patience for what’s going on with pop music these days, I have to pick and choose from what six or seven artists the radio plays. (Our local public radio – WNCW, which is fantastic – doesn’t always come in on my car stereo, and I like to keep abreast of what the kids are listening to, since there are five of them in my family now.)
Adele – along with Lady Gaga, Pink, and Robyn – tends to break through the din for me. There’s something authentic happening with those women. I’m not going to say they’re not derivative, but they don’t seem to be contrivedly derivative. It’s as if Lady Gaga was born in the same town as Madonna, for example, just a couple decades later.
I think Adele comes along on a similar wave – and seems to have struck a similar chord – with soul-pop, or whatever you want to call it. I think she opens her mouth, and that’s what comes out. I believe her when she sings, and I believe the style of music which results.
But a country album?
My first inclination was that obviously it would be a classic country album. My assumption was she had discovered Dolly, Loretta, Patsy, even Maybelle. But no. It’s Garth Brooks she’s been listening to, so this should be interesting. Before we all get carried away, though, from what I understand she hasn’t personally declared her next album will be country. That’s just where bloggers have run with it. Someone went so far as to suggest some producers for her to work with.
If I were Adele, this would be the part where I’d lock up the Garth Brooks records and go to work on something a little more… Tina Turner.
I’d actually love to hear that.
At any rate, I don’t have a lot of thoughts on this – just wanted to remind us all that Adele hasn’t announced anything about her next record, and listening to Garth Brooks doesn’t mean she’ll come out the other end with any Twang or even any Music Row production. Speculation is just that; it’s not news.
What is news, to me at least, is Nashville trio the Ettes.
They’re not rootsy, exactly, but they borrow from the country blues and rockabilly traditions, just with a little more heavily distorted guitars. They remind me of Adele in some way – they awaken that same side of my brain. I can also pick up some traces of Blondie and the Pretenders. You can tell they didn’t ignore the White Stripes, but they’re not exactly picking up where the White Stripes left off. Just playing from the same neighborhood. (As do, I think, the Black Keys.)
They have a swagger about them which seems absent from so much of today’s rock and roll. Or maybe it’s a stance. At any rate, it rips.
They have a new record out called Wicked Will on an indie label called Krian Music Group (who don’t appear to be a traditional label, and have also worked with the band VHS or Beta). I haven’t had a chance to live with that album for long enough yet to delve too far into it, but the sound is interesting and, at once, nostalgic and new. It feels very much like a trio of rock kids just making the kind of music they make. It’s honest, in other words, and raw. Not a lot of production, not a lot of glitz and polish. I hope they stay on that side of Music Row. See what you think.