I recently found myself staring into the void that is Public Broadcasting’s vintage musical box-set programs. You know, those two-hour music videos that are about anything from Blonde Woman Vocalists from 1968-1969 or Rebel Rockers from Ponca, Nebraska that come in a forty-five disc box set and include more music than you would have ever owned had you been the record exec at that place and time in the first place. Well it got me thinking about today’s state of music and how we seem to have lost grip on just how far minimalism mixed with some God-honest songwriting can take us.
For one such musician who describes himself as “Just another singer songwriter. Born and raised in San Francisco,” Adam Del Rio plays to my longing for simplicity with a little grit, a little grace and a whole lot of talent in the songwriting department. Adam Del Rio and The Fizzy Lifters is his ten track journey through the mind of Del Rio poured out on his guitar with splashes of beautiful vocal contrast compliments of Elena Siani.
The impassioned vocal delivery of Del Rio set against a background of acoustic wandering, without – but not lacking – drums throughout, immediately places the record into a world where, in all likelihood, only the most diehard singer/songwriter fans will venture. The warm, almost jam-session style of each track draws on a feeling of simply hanging out with friends and not worrying about selling out arenas or elaborate stage designs. Case in point: “Fancy Words.” The track balances simple strumming with swaggering harmonies and becomes a perfect demonstration of the record. It is an unrefined tale that bleeds the honesty and unpretentiousness. “No Hats” drives Adam Del Rio’s sound home. I really love this song. It brings to light just where this sound is coming from and it is obvious that it comes from the school of Joplin breakdowns and Waits’ attitude.
When the few-and-far-between notion of a lack of production value comes to mind I find myself drawn to more of the intimate quality of the release rather than a longing for more. Any mainstream association would be drawn toward the Jack Johnsons but then again, that is quickly knocked out by the realization that Johnson lacks the edge of Adam Del Rio and The Fizzy Lifters. That is about as far into mainstream you can reach Adam Del Rio; this isn’t your sister’s “MMMBop.” Though maybe not for everyone, it is definitely worth checking out. And you can get your own copy here.