Monday, August 31, 2009

Sounds Like...Adam Again

For my birthday a few weeks ago I downloaded some old songs by a band called "Adam Again".

The cost was $7.90 for all of the songs from their first album, here's the link:

If you've never heard of "Adam Again" (which is likely) you're missing out on one of the best Christian bands from the eighties.

My two favorite albums are their first and second: "In a New World of Time" (released in 1986) and "Ten Songs" (released in 1988).

When I purchased their first album in 1987, I was absolutely amazed at their music...hearing an incredible mix of rock, soul and funk.

The group's sound featured electric guitarist Greg Lawless playing an excellent "Chenka guitar", with the rhythms of Paul Valdez on bass and Jon Knox on drums (although I think the first album may have used a drum machine for some songs).

The band's vocals were led Gene Eugene (Gene Andrusco), who was the group's founder, with his wife Riki Michele who sang a soulful backup.

Listening to Gene's singing now, I am reminded of how much he sounds like the vocalists of Counting Crows and REM.

(I bought their first album, even before I heard their music because their album cover was a painting by Howard Finster, which was similar to one he had done a year earlier for the Talking Heads' album "Little Creatures").

In addition to the music, I found the lyrics of Adam Again to be particularly poignant...a recurring theme in their first album "In a New World Of Time" is the goodness of God:

"When I think of the things I do
I need nothing more from you
Just to be forgiven is enough for me"

(from the song, Life in the First Degree)

"He was God and nothing less
He came to fill your emptiness
His love has stood the test of time
Now it can stand the test of your mind"
(You Can Fall in Love)

"Two thousand years of signs and wonders
All for you to see"


There's also a heavy focus on loss and longing for something more (with a heavy emphasis on crying):

"I looked for a way for years
Alone in my bitter tears"
(Life in the First Degree)

"She says she'll never go home
But tonight she'll cry herself to sleep"

(She's Run)

"Late at night she cries in her bedroom
Wonders if anyone would care if she took her life"

(God Can Change Your World)

In addition, the album has a great focus on giving thanks to God:

"So I'll sing in the streets and dance in the aisles and celebrate what will be"
(Life in the First Degree)

"I try to find the words but I can't even speak except to say Hallelujah"
(Morning Song)

The album ends with a plea to accept God's forgiveness, with the words,

"Won't you listen to the Voice of God, as it whispers your forgiveness."
(Reason With Me)

...again a wonderful album.

In the summer of 1988 (a little over a year after their first album was released) I took a road trip with my buddy Billy to see Adam Again in concert at a Christian music festival in Kitchener, Ontario. Gene was on hand working the sound booth for a number of artists at the music festival called "The Freedom Festival".

A few hours before Adam Again was scheduled to play, a huge thunderstorm came through the area, and the band was forced to move inside to a nearby roller skating rink. It was a strange moment as the band warmed up, with a few fans hudled near the stage and skaters circling the rink.

The next day Billy and I had a chance to meet the band. They were all very friendly. I asked Gene about the bands next album.

As I recall he told me, "We're going to call it Sounds like Adam Again."

Gene went on to make a total of five albums with Adam Again and recorded countless other songs as a producer, engineer and musician with other bands in his Green Room Studio in Los Angeles. He died unexpectedly in 2000.


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