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Adam Holt will bring his unique brand of “Southern Heartland Rock” to Manci’s in Daphne on Thursday, Feb. 21.
Band: Adam Holt
Date: Thursday, Feb. 21, 7 p.m.
Venue: Manci’s Antique Club, 1715 Main St. (Daphne), mancisantiqueclub.com
Singer-songwriter/producer/studio owner Adam Holt will be filling Manci’s Antique Club with a fresh eclectic sound he fondly calls “Southern Heartland Rock.” This trademark sound encompasses the worlds of blues, rock and country without ever losing its balance. With its delicious mixture of styles, Holt’s appealing sound is an exercise in pure American rock ‘n’ roll crafted for enjoyment.
Holt says his musical style is an offshoot of an American style called Heartland Rock. Proponents include such icons as Bruce Springsteen, Tom Petty, Bob Seger and John Mellencamp.
“The songs are not your traditional 12-bar blues, but there are blues elements in there,” Holt said. “I’m not full-on country, but there are country elements in there. My music is pretty much Southern, because I’m from the South. With all those elements from the South that are put in there, I think ‘Southern Heartland Rock’ is a good description for what I do.”
Holt employs a thoughtful process to create his sound, beginning with an acoustic guitar form. Holt says his songs begin “primitively” as a “typical country song with some depth to it.” After the foundation has been created, he electrifies the song with a blues riff. From there, Holt begins to layer instruments and influences such as adding “thundering drums” to fill the song with rock overtones.
Looking back on his musical path, Holt’s versatile sound seems like a natural outgrowth of his personal and musical experiences. His desire to enter the music game began when he was 9, when Holt’s father had MTV added to the household cable plan and the young, would-be artist witnessed a vision that affected the rest of his life.
“One of the music videos that came on, I was just mesmerized at the guitar solo,” said Holt. “It was a silver sparkle Gretsch electric guitar being played, and the person playing it was Joe Perry of Aerosmith. It was ‘Dude Looks Like a Lady.’ At that moment, I knew at 9 years old that I wanted to do that.”
From there, Holt began delving into some of the musical styles that would help him shape his sound. The blues led Holt into one of his first explorations of the music world, witnessed through his 2003 release “Who I Am.” This album’s guitar-laden cuts feature a vast cavalcade of blues styles. During those years, Holt fronted a full band called Adam Holt & the Blues Congregation.
Holt used his 2005 release “This Is Adam Holt” to introduce the public to his newly-crafted style. This departure from “Who I Am” served as a musical portrayal of Holt’s musical experimentation. Five years later, his sound came into full bloom with the album “The Sunday Morning Troubadour,” featuring that perfectly blended mix of country, rock and blues that highlight Holt’s current sound.
More than a decade later, Holt released an album in 2016 that would add yet another dimension to his musical career. “Acoustic” lived up to its title with a mix of unplugged covers and originals. After years of playing with a full band, Holt’s personal life led him to start concentrating on solo acoustic performances, making “Acoustic” an intelligent business move. Even though his full-band releases were available at his solo shows, “Acoustic” was a chance for fans to essentially take home the show they were witnessing. Behind the scenes, “Acoustic” was the first album Holt recorded using analog methods.
“I’ve always had some sort of home studio,” he said. “I got into recording on tape. I did the digital thing for so long, so I bought my first tape machine for the acoustic album.”
From there, Holt began collecting analog equipment and created Studio ’78. Specializing in analog studio production, Holt chose the Studio ’78 name as both a representation of the year in which he was born and a tribute to a musical era when studios laid tracks on tape.
Since founding Studio ’78, Holt has welcomed a number of regional acts into its vintage confines. Area musical acts such as Soul Mexican, Greg Padilla’s Red & the Revelers project, and country up-and-comer Justin Jeansonne have been laying tracks at Studio ’78. Pensacola-based guitarist Lang Holloman has also traveled to Baldwin County to lay tracks on Holt’s gear, which includes a 3M M79 reel-to-reel.
“That’s the same tape machine that’s seen in the movie ‘Bohemian Rhapsody,’ explained Holt. “I don’t know how many were made, but mine’s serial number is 26. So, it was one of the first ones made. I bought it from a studio in New Orleans that decided to go all-digital. I went over there and picked up all three-hundred and something pounds of it. That was a nightmare.”
After years of recording and producing other artists, Holt is finally setting aside time to lay tracks for his follow-up to “The Sunday Morning Troubadour.” Holt says this release will feature the same “blues-infused, Southern Americana rock” that showcases what he feels is his best songwriting. He also promises this album will be released in the “best format” — on vinyl.
Currently, Holt plans for this album to feature nine originals and three covers. For a preview, check out “The Sun Comes Up in Memphis,” recorded at the historic Sun Studios in Memphis. The EP features his take on the blues standard “Killing Floor” as well as the Johnny Cash hit “Folsom Prison Blues.” Holt complements this EP with an online documentary of the same name detailing his trip through Mississippi.
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