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Turn To Jesus

Dave Adkins Trio


2017 - Mountain Fever Records.  I have never understood the fascination with Dave Adkins.  His vocals are absolutely coarse and he struggles to reach simple notes within the melodies he is trying to sing.  Unlike Kenny Rogers, Dave has no inkling how to use his vocals to a musical advantage.  What we hear on this album is an incredible array of instrumentals mixed with authentic background vocals that do not blend with the inappropriate lead vocals, of Dave.  It’s like listening to oil trying to mix with water; which is a complete failure.  The major disappointment is found within the record label as many of the projects released under this label tend to be desperately blended with instrumentals out weighing the vocals.  Perhaps this is intentionally done, due to the fact that many of their artists lack vocal dexterity.  When we assess Dave’s album, we find that the fault lies within the key that he is demanding to perform in.  The harmony is set at a higher pitch than Dave can sing.  This type of performance can work when both the melody and vocals are within the same key, but in different pitch.  This is not the case with Adkins.  With such gruff vocals, he should be encouraged to belt out the songs to bring a sense of rock-n-roll into Bluegrass.  The other element we dislike about Adkins is his choice in songs.  Most of Adkins’ projects are filled with cover songs.  This project contains many covers including A.P. Carter’s “Will The Circle Be Unbroken” and “Working On A Building.”  He also includes Tom T. Hall’s “Me And Jesus,” Hank Williams’ “House of Gold,” and The Gaither’s “He Touched Me.”  You will find several Public Domain songs on this album with “Crying Holy Unto The Lord,” “Old Rugged Cross,” and Albert E. Brumley’s “I’ll Fly Away.”  Dave teams up with notable songwriter Brink Brinkman to write “Turn To Jesus,” a well written song that is destroyed by Adkins’ vocals.  If I were the record executive, I would advise Dave to give up his musical career.  If he insisted to continue, then I would recommend that he follow in the footsteps of Doyle Lawson and create a band in which he were just a musician and not a vocalist.  I would also propose  that he seek brand new songs to record.  As is, this one is shameful and undeserving of our time and money. -$

(© Strictly Country Magazine - March / April 2019 issue.)

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