As the world becomes aware of singer/songwriter Adam Hambrick, listeners will get a two-fold reward – a short-term jolt from an engaging musical package and a long-term satisfaction as repeated plays unveil the depth in his word play and storytelling.
Hambrick cut his teeth as a Nashville songwriter, penning two #1 hits – Dan + Shay’s “How Not To” and Justin Moore’s “Somebody Else Will” – plus Lindsay Ell’s Top 40 single “Waiting On You.” He knows how to hook a song, and he does that brilliantly on his debut album, invariably imbuing the 16 songs with cool melodies and structures that balance mystery and optimism.
Those musical aspects are worthwhile in themselves, but after multiple listens, Hambrick’s subtle mastery of the classic country twist works as a delayed bonus. The turn of a phrase in “Country Stars” – where his youthful desire to become a travelling musician gives way to an adult appreciation of star-filled country skies – is likely obvious the first time around.
But the hidden-in-plain-sight meanings and phrases in other songs make it an album worth revisiting often. “Heart To Break” casts a steely barroom beauty who seems “heartless” at first glance as someone who’s “all out of heart to break.” “Do The Math” measures a man’s pain by adding up the drinks he uses to drown it. The album’s first single, “Rockin’ All Night Long,” takes a big-picture view of after-midnight activities, showing how the late-nights romps of a carefree kid turn into the early-morning expressions of comfort provided by a loving dad to his crying daughter.
That’s part of what Hambrick learned as he honed his songwriting craft on Music Row: how to create songs that work for a casual, surface listener but still reward invested fans who take the time to look under the hood. Those interlocking levels are key to understanding him.
“I’ve always found there is an innate power in music,” he says. “When you say something, you say it, but when you sing it, there’s a level of intentionality and force behind the weight of the words. So it’s a different thing. I love getting to sing these songs and mean them. To sing a song and mean it, you have to be saying something substantial.”
Hambrick accomplishes that while pulling together a passel of influences in a unique way. Atmospheric steel guitars, heavily reverbed rhythms and soaring melodies support the ‘90s country, 2000s pop and timeless blue-eyed soul at the heart of his art. It’s all delivered with a guy-next-door tenor that mixes angst and sensitivity while taking an adult viewpoint on topics that are familiar to consumers of every age.
“A lot of this record is me dealing with the younger me,” he notes. “It’s the emotional fallout from that, and missing that kid, and just trying to make sense of who I am as a means of understanding how I got here.”
As is the case with nearly every success story, Hambrick’s arrival in a much-coveted vocation is an opportunity created by both sweat and luck. Growing up in Corinth, Mississippi, he found himself in a sort of bridge locale between multiple Southern music centers. To the west was Memphis, a mecca for gritty soul. To the north was Jackson, Tennessee, the home of the Rockabilly Museum. To the east was Muscle Shoals with its raw pop/rock history. To the south was Tupelo, the birthplace of Elvis Presley.
Corinth itself was awash in country, and Hambrick’s personal interpretation of all those influences was filtered through the church, where his father was a Baptist pastor and his mom played piano. He had a natural gift for performing, though he didn’t initially think of it as much more than a hobby.
“As a kid, making music as a career is kind of a pipe dream,” he says. “There were some cover bands and stuff I had seen around town, but country music, radio, the Grand Ole Opry, Nashville – all that stuff felt so distant from where I was.”
And yet that music made a huge impression. Country hits from the ‘90s “laid the bedrock foundation for my love of songs,” Hambrick says, pointing to Mark Chesnutt, Joe Diffie and Alan Jackson, whose “Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow” earns an oblique reference in Hambrick’s own “Country Stars.” Hambrick wore out Garth Brooks’ landmark No Fences album when he received his first cassette tape player as a Christmas gift.
As he aged, rock acts such as Foo Fighters, Third Eye Blind, Red Hot Chili Peppers and Taking Back Sunday provided the soundtrack for a more rebellious stage. But Hambrick found the key to unlock his own skills when he discovered John Mayer.
“John Mayer was really the first singer-songwriter that just came out of nowhere and had a direct and lasting impact on me,” Hambrick enthuses. “That was the common thread that runs through all of it, because with all these bands and artists, it’s about their songs. They’re real-deal stories, vivid imagery, lyric-driven songs. That’s the thing that’s always been important to me, like ‘What are you actually saying?’”
The Hambricks had moved to Mississippi from Arkansas before Adam’s birth, but they spent enough time with relatives back in rural Des Arc that the Natural State felt as much like home as Mississippi. So when it came time for college, he majored in mass communications at Central Arkansas University, a campus known for its purple-and-gray football field (“Go Purple Bears,” Hambrick wryly cheers), located in Conway, the town that gave late Country Music Hall of Fame member Conway Twitty the first half of his stage name.
Hambrick became a bit of a local sensation, packing fraternity houses and Little Rock clubs for a time. One of his buddies in Conway, Kris Allen, won a season of American Idol, and watching that experience gave Hambrick motivation to start recording his own songs.
In the process, he ended up on Little Rock TV station KATV, promoting his first self-released album, Fighting From the Ground, and a local club show. As it happened, country star Justin Moore caught the televised performance and was impressed enough that he called his producer, Jeremy Stover (Jack Ingram, Drake White), and recommended Hambrick. Within days, Hambrick had a meeting in Nashville and started visiting regularly to write songs.
“Justin changed my life that day,” says Hambrick. “He could have been like, ‘That guy’s pretty good’ and then gone about his day, but just the fact that he made a phone call to the guy that’s now my mentor, that got a really incredible ball rolling for me.”
Roughly 18 months later, Hambrick signed his first publishing deal and made the move to Nashville. He intended to continue making the occasional album to appease his inner artist, but the real focus was writing songs. Initially, he put his focus in the writing room on creating material for Nashville’s A-list acts, but that evolved as he discovered that redirection took some of the character out of his compositions.
“If I’m trying to put myself into somebody else’s head and trying to say what I think Luke Bryan would say, I’m full of crap ‘cause I don’t know what Luke Bryan is gonna say or what he’s even comfortable saying,” Hambrick notes. “So it was kind of a process of getting smaller – don’t worry about what’s on the chart, just do what I feel. When I started doing that, I started becoming more inspired to write and those songs were becoming more reactive with people in town.”
Particularly with Universal Music Group A&R executive Stephanie Wright, who was in the audience when he played a songwriters round. She was intrigued by his melodic prowess, his unique outlook and his self-effacing sarcasm. After the show, she made a point of cultivating a relationship.
“Over that next year I just kept writing and kept sending her songs and she kept being a fan and kept making fans in the Universal building,” he says. “It was just a very organic, very relational development. I didn’t choose to go after country radio. That was an opportunity that opened up, and I walked through that door.”
He brought a figurative truck load of music with him. Hambrick had 110 songs that seemed ideal for his own artistry. They narrowed that to 40, then settled on a final 16 that showcase his passionate vulnerability and his ability to depict the drama in human interaction.
Splitting his time between two next-generation musician/producers – Andrew DeRoberts (Brantley Gilbert, James Blunt) and Paul DiGiovanni (Jordan Davis, Dan + Shay) – he came up with a project that balances country, soul and the occasional tinge of electro-pop. The incandescent “White Lying,” the ultra-catchy “Forever Ain’t Long Enough,” the hypnotic “Broken Ladder” and the melancholy “Sunset” are immediately gratifying. But like the other dozen songs in the package, their biggest reward is their long-term value, the payoff from exploring the layers of sound and pockets of meaning that are key to understanding Adam Hambrick. The multiple styles that feed his brand of country are authentic, but so is his commitment to songs that stand the test of time.
“I’m always gonna be invested in country music,” Hambrick says. “I’m always gonna be invested in the community around country music, but at the end of the day, I want to make good music. Period.”
“Hey guys! It’s Adam Hambrick, hoping you have a Happy Labor Day weekend.”
Hey y’all! It’s Billy Currington, wishing you a very happy Labor Day weekend.
Hey y’all! This is Brandon Lay, wishing you a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.
This is TJ, and I’m John, and we are Brothers Osborne, wishing you a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.
Hey everyone! I’m Carrie Underwood, hoping you have a happy Labor Day weekend.
Hey y’all! This is Caylee Hammack. I’m wishing you a fun and work-free Labor Day weekend.
Hey! What’s up? This is Clare Dunn, and I hope you have a Happy Labor Day weekend.
Hey! It’s Darius Rucker, and I hope you have a have a happy work-free Labor Day weekend.
Hey! It’s Eric Church, and I hope you have a have a happy Labor Day weekend.
Hey! I’m Jon Langston. Hope you have a Happy Labor Day weekend.
Hey! It’s Jon Pardi, and I hope you have a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.
Hey! I’m Jordan Davis, wishing you a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.
Hey! It’s Kacey Musgraves, hoping you have a happy Labor Day weekend.
Hi everybody! This is Keith Urban, wishing you a very happy Labor Day weekend.
Hey—what’s happening guys? This is Kip Moore, wishing you a happy and work-free Labor Day Weekend.
Hi! We’re Little Big Town, hoping you have a work-free Labor Day weekend.
Hey! It’s Luke Bryan, and I hope you have a have a happy Labor Day weekend.
Hey everybody! I’m Maddie, and I’m Tae, and we’re Maddie & Tae, hoping you have a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.
Hey everybody! I’m Sam Hunt. Have a great and work-free Labor Day weekend.
Hey y’all. It’s Travis Denning, hoping you have a happy and work-free Labor Day weekend.
Adam Hambrick released his new track “Forever Ain’t Long Enough” today, listen HERE. Written by Adam, Joe Ginsberg, and Kelly Archer, the song couples Adam’s soaring vocals with a catchy melody that seemingly begs to get stuck in your head. “What’s really great about “Forever Ain’t Long Enough” is that, at its core, it’s just a feel good, fun, love song,” explains Adam. “When Kelly, Joe and I got in the room to write we came up with something to make people dance and smile- and it has a little attitude which I love. This song is the kind of thing you want to put in your earbuds and bounce down the street.”
Additionally, Adam debuted his first official music video for the brand-new song today. The treatment views like a scene from a classic 1980’s film, complete with leather jackets, slicked back hairstyles, and paper diner hats.
Earlier this year Adam opened for Brett Young on a string of west coast tour dates and made his debut performance at Stagecoach, C2C Fest, and the Grand Ole Opry. Adam previously released his songs “Rockin’ All Night Long” and “All You, All Night, All Summer” which have accumulated over 43 million streams to date. Adam is currently in the studio working on his debut album with producers Andrew DeRoberts (James Blunt, Miley Cyrus) and Paul DiGiovanni (Blake Shelton, Jordan Davis). For new music, content, and a full list of upcoming tour dates, visit https://www.adamhambrick.com/
As Mercury Nashville’s Travis Denning’s new single “After A Few” continues to climb the country radio charts, Denning is sharing a stripped-back acoustic version of the track today, available to watch as a special in-studio version here and to listen to here. Currently ascending through the Top 40, the “memorable” song showcases Denning’s “future star power” (Billboard.) Co-written by Denning with Kelly Archer and Justin Weaver, the track follows his Top 40 debut single “David Ashley Parker From Powder Springs.”
A native of Warner Robins, Georgia, singer/songwriter Travis Denning has been spotlighted by Rolling Stone for his “everyman worldview that evokes his small-town, big-hearted upbringing and a sound that is a wide tent – fun, modern country with rock-guitar licks” and was recently selected as an Opry NextStage recipient and CMA KixStart Artist, as he makes his mark within the industry. Inspired at a young age, Denning developed a love for country, pop, rock and heavy metal and started playing local bars from the age of 16, as he built a strong following from his distinctive songs and raucous guitar solos. Denning moved to Nashville and secured outside cuts by Jason Aldean, Justin Moore, Michael Ray and Chase Rice. A prolific writer with an unquestionable stage presence, Denning caught the attention of Universal Music Group and signed a record deal in 2017. Denning has previously opened shows for Cole Swindell, Alan Jackson, LANCO and is set to hit the road this fall with Riley Green beginning September 5 in Statesboro, Georgia and will run through the end of the year. When Denning is not touring, he is in the studio working on his debut album. For more information, visit travisdenning.com.
Stream Here: http://strm.to/AfterAFewYD