Adams and da Costa Mesmerize Minneapolis Audience
It takes a special kind of audience to bypass all the fast break NCAA basketball tourney hype that was in Minneapolis this past Sunday evening to come to a small music venue. Here, the chances of getting arena-show theatrics were as likely as small-conference underdogs reaching the title game. Whatever reasons brought in the 130 + visitors to the Peter Bradley Adams concert at the Cedar Cultural Center, these fans were a fortunate group who witnessed a rare display of combined talent.
Peter Bradley Adams, a singer-songwriter based in Nashville — along with his unfairly talented sidekick, Anthony da Costa — shared an authenticity that seems perfectly suited to such an intimate setting. Plugged into a perfectly pre-checked sound system, their show was a flawless route of fingerpicking, chord manipulation, and vocal artistry augmented with the subtle use of a stomp box and effects pedals. I definitely see a stomp box in this guitarist’s near future.
A Balance of Lyrical and Melodic Strength
Peter has affectionately embraced his own style of fingerpicking and smoky, smooth vocal flavor for delivering a deliberate arrangement of words that are arranged to exact and close rhyming and are easy on the ears. He once explained to the audience, however, in advance, that the words “load star” were not to be confused with “lone star,” avoiding the likelihood of needing to correct any misunderstanding during the post-show meet and greet.
The lyrics themselves were not the only magic pervading the room. Those melodies. They were predominately creative mixes of folk style with driving rhythm. According to allmusic.com, Peter has been writing music even before studying for a BA in Music, but academics can take one only so far.
Honoring His Craft
Peter brings a subdued passion to his performance and honors his craft with a mesmerizing dedication to a quality show. A 105-minute show can blow by in a hurry, surprisingly. But, inviting Anthony da Costa, who has been a friend for years, is undoubtedly a calculated strategy with extreme prejudice. He knows how to mutilate a six-string and is unforgiving in creating a memorable performance.
Peter’s songs, worthy of multiple listens, gravitate toward storytelling, based on experience and fabrication. His opening tune, “Full Moon” lures the listener in with a narrative about a prison-fleeing fugitive with a longing for freedom:
I wanna live like a kid with holes in his boots
I wanna climb like a child in a tree
I wanna love like a man, with nothing to lose
And die with my heart on my sleeve
These lines from “Good Man” are real ammunition to the verse, but are easy to miss with just one listen:
I walk a mile ‘cross the kitchen floor
I slip the key underneath the door
The set mingled between tunes that explore relationships and spiritual questions and occasional anecdotes about life on the road and how songs came to be. The song “Know Us” was a personal favorite, now engraved in my memory with the gorgeous verses,
Every season will turn
til’ the world is upside down
then go underground.
But in the eye of the storm
and the safety of this house
we lay hand in hand
while the world turns ‘round.
so keep us
and keep us
and keep us
from the storm
However, I love being totally moved by songs with a rich musical arrangement, and “Mighty Storm” was a real highlight, demonstrating Adam’s and da Costa’s ability to forge entertainment like a well-greased machine. One of these days, that song just may conjure Heaven to move on their behalf…
Here comes the mighty storm
The white lightning’s gonna strike you down
You can’t fight the will of the Lord
Everybody stand ready on higher ground
But even with this great ability to hone his craft and communicate it effectively, Peter remains a humble guy with a sense of duty to other writers/artists. He acknowledged Anthony’s superior skill set several times and was quick to give credit to song collaborators Caitlin Canty and Garrison Starr.
If you get a chance to visit one of his shows in Nashville, do it. He tells me he usually has a full band in those shows, and that can only amplify an already flawless gig.
Little Tidbits about Peter:
According to Secret Road Records, a music licensing specialist where Peter is listed as a “Singer/Songwriter, Folk, Introspective,” Peter’s favorite food is kale, and he stays fit as a “master jumper of rope.”