BABE IN THE WOODS: Adron (photo by Chad Radford)
When she still lived in Atlanta Adron (Adrienne McCann) was one of Atlanta's best kept secrets. Since moving to Brooklyn about six months ago the city has felt like a much emptier place without her. Tonight Adron returns to her old stomping grounds to play a show at The 5 Spot in L5P.
Adron skews the traditions of a little lady with a big guitar by embracing a strong element of Tropicalia and a quasi-Brazilian-style strum that is at once baroque, hypnotic and totally enthralling.
Imagine, if you will, the sounds of Beck pre-Sea Change, Os Mutantes, the Beatles and Seu Jorge's soundtrack to The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and you're somewhere in the right neighborhood, but not quite there. Adron's songs are as captivating as they are distinctive and this rare homecoming performance is not to be missed.
Chad Radford: How long have you been playing guitar?
Adron: I started when I was 12, I guess. I've been playing piano since I was four. I demonstrated an early aptitude for it, but playing piano was always like homework for me. I'm grateful for it and I have an avid appreciation for the great classical masters, but it's not very useful for me aside from having all of this esoteric invisible knowledge but don't know that I have. I wanted to play guitar. I knew I wanted to be a kick-ass songwriter ... I wanted to be a rock star and I was always thinking of the best avenue to get there so I thought that I should learn to play a guitar. I didn't want to start writing songs on a piano because it just didn't feel natural. My brother was a guitar player, so I stole that from him.
Did you teach yourself how to play?
Yeah, I taught myself. The first song that I learned to play was "Pay No Mind" by Beck, it's the second song on Mellow Gold. Starting out around the age of 11 I became clinically obsessed with him. This was a love affair that lasted for several years. It was really intense. My room was wallpapered with pictures of him. In retrospect it's kind of disgusting, but I still have a profound love for many of his songs and I still think that some of the things he did are downright genius, like Midnight Vultures for example. It's absolutely brilliant. But we've drifted apart.
Then I bought a chord book from a guitar store and I started learning all of these Beatles songs and I taught myself a lot of chord tricks. All of the standard crap. The way I taught myself the fancy, expensive sounding jazz chords was just by taking what I knew and trying to do something different with them. To this day I still don't really know what I'm doing. I'm not savvy on a lot of musical theory and terminology ... things like that, but I think it sounds convincing. With the album I think that there is an instinctual understanding of what notes do and how they translate.
Your song writing has the appearance of being very studied and very disciplined guitar playing.
I always wanted it to sound very deliberate. That probably comes from being raised on the Beatles and the genius of Paul McCartney's songwriting is that it is so seamless and deliberate. I always wanted what I write to reach that level of completeness and sound so uncompromisingly certain. I'm hoping I'll get there.
After seeing you play the first few times and watching how you move your fingers in such a unique way, I was convinced that I was seeing some sort of Brazilian avant-garde technique being played out...
Great! It's inspired by a lot of Brazilian music, but only in as much as what I can hear and kind of do whatever comes naturally. A lot of people say that they hear a Flamenco sound in my songs. It isn't consciously Flamenco, but I welcome the comparison.
But I do hear a pronounced Central or South American flare in your songs How deliberate is that?
That's the other half. Half of what I do is this silky, pristine and complete songwriter approach. The other half is the whimsical jumble of Tropicalia and I think that started when I was 14 and I first heard Os Mutantes. That made my head explode. I recommend that everyone give a listen to "In the Hot Sun of a Christmas Day." The first time you hear it, it feels like your face is melting, or like you're going to start drooling on yourself. I just love it so much.
Tonight's show costs $8 at the door and the music starts at 8 p.m. Adron shares the stage with Holly Howell, Kahle Davis, Drew DeMan (of No River City) and Bender.
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