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"Adam Stern definitely shattered all preconceptions of what a lead guitarist can be" -- Westword
Is it ambient electronica? Nashville twang? Philadelphia hardbop? Jazzfunk? Rockabilly? R&B? Those questions revolve around the new instrumental album from Colorado's Adam Stern and the answer is “yes.” The 10-song album is entitled High Country Gentleman and is the second solo release (the first being 2009's Twang Shui) from a musician the Colorado Music Buzz called “one of Colorado's most interesting and versatile guitar players.”
Despite its array or styles, High County Gentleman is not a “guitar” album crammed with hot licks top to bottom. “My goal has always been to make instrumental music that regular people can relate to,” Stern says. “Just because there's no singing doesn't mean these can't be real songs based on life experiences.” Towards that end, “Numbers 7:89” is a celestial blend of Daniel Lanois and David Lynch anchored by Stern's tremolo'd-out hollowbody guitar. “Expolitics” recalls vintage Return To Forever with it's daunting odd-time sections jutting off into playful renaissance melodies. Other highlights are the haunting slow blues “Buchanan/Bloomfield” and the G-funk smooth-jazz jam “Geomancy.” Just when you start to get lulled into thinking this will be a “mood” CD you get slammed by a Mack truck of hyper-speed chickin' pickin of “Locked Up” and the Brian Setzer-meets-Zakk Wylde mayhem of “Progabilly.”
Truly a “late bloomer” in music who didn't play his first gig until one month after his 30th birthday, Stern is currently one of the busiest musicians in Colorado, averaging about 160 gigs a year. Aside from Adam Stern And High Country Gentlemen, the live performance vehicle for his original music, he has been a sideman for hire on solo projects by members of bands such as Leftover Salmon, Oakhurst, and Hot Rod Circuit. Now he also plays pedal steel along with guitar making him a true “double threat” as he continues to be a freelance musician with assorted Colorado country artists as well as Widespread Panic alumni Sam Holt.
Adam Stern has opened for Dickey Betts, Jimmy Herring, New Mastersounds, Karl Denson, David Allan Coe, Johnny Hickman (Cracker), New Riders Of The Purple Sage and Foghat. He's played onstage with Mike Gordon of Phish, Drew Emmitt and Vince Herman of Leftover Salmon, Ronnie McCoury from Del McCoury Band, Bernie Worrell and Eric McFadden from P-Funk and Melvin Seals from Jerry Garcia Band. He has been “bubbling under the radar” for some time now, but hopefully that will soon change with the release of High Country Gentleman. As one Denver journalist recently stated, “Ladies and Gentleman, I think we may have the next Steely Dan/Medeski Martin Wood here in our backyard.”