Adam Levy
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Adam Levy

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""Blistering...""

Adam Levy has a reputation for tailoring imaginative and elegant guitar solos to fit almost any tune, beginning with Tracy Chapman's "Give Me One Reason" and more recently on Norah Jones' three CDs. When not busy backing Jones, the former Bay Area jazz musician has been writing tunes of his own, mostly in a bluesy folk vein, and he sings 11 of them on 'Washing Day.' Lingering fragrances, coin laundries and pay phones inform his highly poetic, deeply emotional and at times disturbing songs about a lost lover. He avoids the wind because it reminds him of her touch, threatening to stir up a storm inside him. Finally, in a cow-punk ode titled "I Shot Her Down," he commits murder. Pain oozes from Levy's craggy tenor tones, which he answers with blistering shards of guitar sound.

- S.F. Chronicle


""Subtle quirkiness...""

In this age of fast licks, Adam Levy does things differently. He plays unhurried, tasty guitar riffs. Levy’s the musical equivalent of eggs, bacon and toast done just right: simple, nutritious, a little greasy, but delectable. There’s nothing real flashy here on his latest disc, but there’s always something good going on. Levy, best known as the featured guitarist in Norah Jones’ Handsome Band, strums his electric instrument so that the notes shimmer and plucks his acoustic one with simple, elegant movements. His self-penned songs are unpretentious and smart. His voice rings clear and steady. Backed by Andy Hess on Fender bass and Tony Mason on drums, the disc offers a quiet release that swings. While there is a bit of sameness to the compositions, taken as a whole they create a pleasant Sunday afternoon mood and individually they each have their own merits. There is a subtle quirkiness to the music which rewards repeated listening. - PopMatters


""the next Great American Songbook""

The name Adam Levy probably doesn’t ring an immediate bell in your brain, but you could be forgiven. He’s not even a household name among jazz guitar aficionados, but this part-time New Orleanian combines the best of Bill Frisell and Larry Carlton in his patient, chiming, yet exploratory melodics. If those names don’t mean jack to you either, three words: Norah Jones’ guitarist. This, his fourth solo album, aims for her crowd. If she made a less sterile roots-pop record that explored the sneaky dynamics of sexual control, it might sound like this.

This means, naturally, that Levy has to lay off the solos and work in a more conventional structure, which brings his merely adequate vocals up front. He fills that gap admirably with atmosphere, however, resulting in the nearly trip-hop “Breathe with Me” (not an easy feat for an acoustic trio) and the cracked, atonal stomp of “I Shot Her Down.” And even if his poppier moments result in Adult Alternative nuggets “I Can Promise You That” or the (unintentional?) Wilco homage “Never Been Alone Like This,” even the thorniest jazzbo snobs can recognize Levy’s potential to pen material for the next Great American Songbook. - Offbeat


""Laid-back...""

Adam Levy's "day job" is playing guitar in Norah Jones' band. Not surprisingly, his own music holds some similarities to his boss'. They share certain laid-back musical qualities that swirl jazz, blues and country colorings into the singer/songwriter palette. In fact, Jones covered Levy's "In the Morning" on her Feels Like Home album. One main difference between the two, however, comes from the fact that Levy (not to be confused with the Adam Levy who fronts the Minneapolis roots rock band the Honeydogs) is a guitarist so his music naturally features a much more prominent guitar sound than Jones' piano-based music does. Not strictly a subtle strummer, Levy is not averse to attacking his guitar with enough ferocity to rattle the coffee cups at Starbucks. Both the blues "In the Morning" and the twangy stomper of a murder tale "I Shot Her Down" boast some raucous guitar work. Levy, however, doesn't showboat his guitar skills here, choosing instead to use his typically economical playing to service his songs. He fuels soulful rocker "I Can Promise You That" with a funky guitar line, while the jazzier "Breathe with Me" gets sparked by an eerie guitar figure that perfectly fits the song's nocturnal mood. When Levy slows down the pace on his spare, melancholic romantic laments "Unspoken" and "Longest Day of the Day," he suggest the craftsmanship of a Freedy Johnston. Levy's lyrical skills really shine on the evocatively rendered title track. He fills this relaxed early morning ode with little snapshots but then slips in the simple yet poetic observation -- "my secrets now just streaks of blue" -- after discovering an old, now laundered notebook in his dungarees. This disc opener bookends nicely with "The Party Is Over," a weary-eyed look at a long night that comes as the album winds down. The disc's concluding song, however, is something of a tempo-changer. "Never Been Alone Like This" is Levy's poppiest track, a jangly ditty that would improve any power pop album. Much like Jesse Harris has stepped out of Jones' shadow, Levy seems poised to do the same. - All Music Guide


Discography

'Loose Rhymes — Live on Ludlow Street' (2006)
'Washing Day' (2007)

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Bio

Adam Levy is best known for his tenure as the featured guitarist in Norah Jones' Handsome Band. He played on her breakout 2002 disk 'Come Away with Me,' her '04 follow-up 'Feels Like Home,' and her latest CD 'Not Too Late.' Beyond his gigs with Jones, Levy has been onstage and/or in the studio with Rosanne Cash, Amos Lee, Lisa Loeb, M. Ward, and up-and-coming Aussie artist Eran James.

In addition to Levy's skills as a player, he is a gifted songwriter. He penned "In the Morning" for Jones' 'Feels Like Home' and other artists have recorded his songs as well. There's no doubt, though, that the best way to hear Levy's folk/pop/blues gems is straight from the source.