The slow, lazy rolling days of summer in the south. Fireflies and little league games in the evening time. Reminiscences of a past lover and a girl who got away. Finding one's self unraveled on a still, dark night, the promise of youth and potential unfulfilled. These are some of the images and feelings evoked in Athens, Georgia-based singer/songwriter Adam Klein's third record, the nostalgic coming-of-age collection Wounded Electric Youth.
Wounded Electric Youth finds a songwriter in stride, an artist building upon the strengths of his previous releases and expanding his palette with dynamic melodies, fuller arrangements, broader instrumentation, and a bolder sound. While Klein followed the sparse, rustic country folk of his debut release Distant Music (2006) with the Americana-meets-Texas singer/songwriter story songs of the acclaimed sophomore offering Western Tales & Trails (2008), Wounded Electric Youth is a folk-pop delight rooted in Americana and featuring Klein's signature rustic stylings.
Characterized by a warm, rich sound, Klein's blend of Americana, folk rock, and indie pop bring to mind such perennial favorites as Wilco's Summerteeth, Pneumonia by Whiskeytown, and Son Volt's recent work. The bold rhythm section is nothing short of mid-late Beatles. It may seem familiar, yet in Klein's hands the sound is uniquely his own.
Wounded Electric Youth is a remarkably versatile third offering. Opener 'Driftin'' is an ode to summertime in Athens replete with ukelele and bells. 'To Be A Loner', 'Anna (You Were Supposed To Be Mine)', and 'Griffin's Song' represent Klein's first foray into a catchy pop aesthetic, the latter two featuring thick horns and driving guitars. Amidst this framework Klein yet again brings a strong lyrical story song, 'Of Pirates & Vagabonds', and the straightforward country number 'Wayward Son'. 'Tired Afternoon (Out for Love)', meanwhile, is colored by Randall Bramblett's light, ethereal piano touches, soft trumpet, and Bill Frisell-style electric guitar work compliments of Brooklyn's Raphael McGregor. The dreamy 'Once in Paris' finds Klein's falsetto gliding along silky organ chimes, deep baritone guitar and drums, and splashes of cymbals. Wounded Electric Youth is sweet, whimsical nostalgia, touches of pain awash in the stunning warmth of life lived. Mastering engineer Tom Lewis (R.E.M., Allman Brothers, The Whigs) hails it 'the most completely realized record' to come out of Athens in recent years.
As with Western Tales & Trails, Wounded Electric Youth was recorded and produced over a period of months by AJ Adams (ex-Bloodkin, The Granfalloons) at his Troubadour Den studio in Athens with a returning cast of talented players. In addition to Adams' bass, pedal steel, and guitar duties and Carlton Owens' (ex-John Mayer, Big C & The Ringers) tasteful drumming, ace musicians Randall Bramblett (Traffic, Allman Brothers), David Blackmon (Curley Maple, Widespread Panic), Jess Franklin (Tishamingo, Brantley Gilbert), Jason Fuller (Ween), Kevin Hyde (Widespread Panic, Derek Trucks, Jim White), Karolyn Troupe (Venice is Sinking), Raphael McGregor (ex-Nation Beat), and Chris Cason joined the mix on saxophone and piano, fiddle, rhodes and organ, trombone, viola, and guitar, respectively. Sultry Athens songstress Lera Lynn adds prominent, spot-on background vocals.
Featuring a broad stylistic range filtered through disparate influences from the 60's pop-rock of The Beatles, lushness of Beach Boys, and folksy Americana, Wounded Electric Youth is a striking, beautifully crafted, and pure set of timeless originals. Lyrically potent, Klein creates a lovely balance of heartbreak and sheer, sparkling-pop joy.
Klein's music has garnered praise from Paste, No Depression, Americana UK, Georgia Music, Maverick, Flagpole, Stomp & Stammer, and Performer Magazines. Western Tails & Trails received Top Adds at Americana radio and spent three months on the Euro Americana charts, debuting at #4. Klein has performed throughout the U.S. and toured in Ireland, the UK, and Netherlands. He was an official showcasing artist at the 2008 Folk Alliance conference, and has shared the stage with artists as diverse as Josh Ritter, Kevn Kinney, Okkervil River, Abigail Washburn & the Sparrow Quartet featuring Bela Fleck, Steep Canyon Rangers, Fred Eaglesmith, Dan Bern, Larry Keel & Natural Bridge, Lucy Kaplansky, Nels Andrews, and Larkin Poe.
In early 2010 Klein traveled to Mali, West Africa, where he recorded a Malian 'Mande' music album, titled Dugu Wolo, and produced a making-of-the-record documentary film. Klein is the founder of upstart independent label Cowboy Angel Music and co-organizer of the annual Athens Americana music festival in Athens.