By Stephanie Crosby
One thing that makes me very happy, music-wise, is an artist comfortably seated in their own style. Adam Payne, a superb singer/songwriter from the Boston area, is the latest to restore my faith in musiciankind. Payne crafts a supercool blend of acoustic singer/songwriter and soul, with twinges of modern R&B and rap. It is a true joy to listen to a musician who knows himself and his strengths well enough to do interesting things!
With four choices of performance lineup, the possibilities are endless for Mr. Payne. As a solo artist, he covers vocals, acoustic guitar and keyboard. With the lineup of some of Massachusetts’ finest, named “2Adam12”, Payne is accompanied by Adam Dehner on lead guitar and background vocals, Mik Mersha on bass, and Mark Purrington (as well as a host of other special guests) on drums. The slightly lighter North Carolina based funktion, “The Bizzle” features Devin Klein on bass, Beecher Denton on drums and Kevin Verlinden on lead guitar. “AdUpBeat” showcases the beatboxing talents of Adrian Reid. Each group provides a solid foundation for Adam Payne’s songs, and adds its own unique flavor to the performance.
Adam Payne grew up in Lynn, MA and Sarasota, FL. Apparently quite the smart cookie, he earned a degree in Psychology with a minor in Statistics, then went on to a master’s degree in Industrial Psychology. Music caught his attention early on. Payne learned, largely under his own power, to play piano, guitar, and drum set. He dabbled in writing his own music at 16, and it stuck. Today he sounds quite comfortable with his instruments, particularly his velvety, soul-ready voice. He is quoted in his EPK as saying, “I’ve been performing in front of people in some way ever since I can remember. I enjoy doing so, and I believe that I will continue to do so no matter where life takes me.” We can only hope so.
I had the pleasure of listening to about six songs total from Adam Payne’s press kit and Myspace website. The selection gave me a pretty good feel for the scope of Adam’s music. There is so much going on in each song that I can’t imagine the audience or the musicians getting bored at a show. Among my favorites was “On My Way”, which was recorded live with 2Adam12. It features some excellent improvisational saxophone by Mr. Wolovick. The percussion in “On My Way” has a busy, salsa feel to it, perfectly appropriate for dancing to. Another exclusively from the Myspace website was “No Regret”. This is a pretty, fairly sad downtempo song, which really shows off Payne’s vocals, complemented by gorgeous harmonies. Lastly, I must mention “Get Over Yourself”, recorded with AdUpBeat. This quirky, R&B flavored song contains not only beatboxing, but a whistling solo.
Adam responds quickly and helpfully to e-mail. So I would recommend that anybody interested in his music contact him directly, and I would highly recommend that he make his websites a bit more cohesive and thorough. Technical babble aside, Adam Payne is a very talented musician and songwriter. Anybody into acoustic music, modern soul, or Jason Mraz minus the geeky whiteness would enjoy him immensely. Check him out at his websites!