Adoniram Lipton
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Adoniram Lipton

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The best kept secret in music


With a name like Slowtrain, you would assume that brothers Adoniram and Joshua Lipton are somewhat influenced by Bob Dylan.  While assumptions of that type are dangerous, especially in the music world, in this case you would be correct.  Based out of Austin, Texas, Slowtrain creates an album in Escape the Sun that falls into that loose collective of "Americana/" music.  Call it what you will - simply put, this is some good stuff.

Is it possible to sing about serious topics without taking oneself too seriously?  "She Always Cries," a title that would be depressing in itself, features a flubbed intro, kind of a musical outtake if you will.  It is a piano-based, Counting Crows style tune.  "Dog" and "Me and Only Me" shows Lipton's reverence for Bob Dylan vocally, while "About You" is much more like Bob's son Jakob (Wallflowers).  The latter features Joshua Lipton on a Fender Rhodes bass piano, once made popular by The Doors' Ray Manzarek. 

"Lovegrave" shows the lyrical bent, pleading "if love is a grave, bury me by the tree."  "Escape the Sun" is Bob Dylan meets Counting Crows, while "Steel Country Prison" careens into old school country.  "Gypsy Hound" is a cool, drawn-out jam session.  "Backroads" is more bluesy.

With all of these styles, there is something here for most music fans to enjoy.  Elizabeth Lipton (wife of Adoniram) chips in lead vocals on two tracks - "Lullaby" and "Except for You."  My advice to the band would be to feature her even more on ensuing releases.  She has a lovely voice, somewhat in the vein of Leigh Nash or Sara Watkins (Nickel Creek).

There is a Slowtrain coming, if Escape the Sun is any indication.   It would be easy to see this band fitting in on the same bill as Johnny Cash, Nickel Creek, or The Wallflowers.  Anyone with that type of diversity in musical taste will like this album.  A lot. - Phantom Tollbooth

Brandishing old school funk/folk with ease and style, Texas-based band Slowtrain performs the kind of music that Bob Dylan would love. Speaking of whom, you may have noticed the connection between Dylan and this band's name -- it's no coincidence. Lead vocalist Adoniram Lipton says the name is "a nod to Dylan's Slow Train Coming," the album he released after converting to Christianity.

But the Dylan goodwill doesn't end there; you'll hear strains of his influence -- along with shades of The Beatles and some others -- on Escape the Sun's every song. Opening with the old fashioned, piano-based "Dog," the disc soon leads into rough-around-the-edges blues/rock, with Lipton's vocals drifting over and around the melodies. Their lyrics come from a Christian worldview, but they're allegorical enough not to instantly put off mainstream listeners.

Slowtrain bills itself as a band made up of Christians, but not a "Christian band." They're certainly good enough to make it if they were to sign with a label (they've reportedly already attracted label attention, having worked with producer Armand Petri, who has produced the Goo Goo Dolls and Sixpence None the Richer), but they decided to specifically go the independent route, intentionally avoiding both mainstream music and the Christian Music machine. With the freedom that being independent provides, and the talent to allow them the luxury of having that choice, it will be interesting to see what the future holds for this intriguing young band. - CM-Central

Having a folk singer mother and an ex-hippie father probably helps Slowtrain frontman Adoniram Lipton to help create music that's both unique and contains elements of his heritage. This intriguing collection of recordings borrows influences from everyone from Dave Matthews to The Band to Bob Dylan to Johnny Cash, which causes the music to be mesmerizing because of its unique familiarity. "Dog" is a song that sounds like something sung by a chain gang, while "Escape the Sun" and "About You" are uptempo delights with catchy choruses that are easy to hum along with. Lipton's vocals are laid-back and comfortable, which would make this music awesome in a live setting, where the band says their songs come alive because they never sound the same twice. Each of the band members is rumored to play at least two instruments when performing-from harmonicas to a Cuban rhythmic instrument called a "cajon"-and most of those organic flavors carry over onto this recording of acoustic and ear-catching sounds. - The Noize - 3/4/2003

Imagine a band with the Southern soul and smirk of Cracker, a lead singer with the sweet-and-sour tones of Wilco's Jeff Tweedy, and lyrics grounded in faith and doubt... you'll come up with something pretty close to Slowtrain.

They're probably new to you, but those that have discovered them have that smug feeling of being onto something good. Adoniram Lipton throws himself into his role as guitarist, pianist, and harmonica player. He's backed up by his family: his brother Joshua on Hammond keys and his wife Elizabeth Lipton on backing vocals. Cliff Fitch gives them more backbone with his array of percussion. Looking to discover something that's built to last?
Check them out.

( 3/8/2003
by Jeffrey Overstreet editor - Promontory Reviews


Escape The Sun - 2003
The Slowtrain EP - 2001
Me and Only Me - 2000
Strawberry This Time - 2000


Feeling a bit camera shy


Whether playing solo or backed by his touring band, Slowtrain, Adoniram Lipton’s emotional style of performance and unpredictable songwriting have found him a wide and varied audience. Equally comfortable in Austin dives like the Hole in the Wall or Ego’s as well as some of the country’s finest listening rooms such as the Handlebar (Greenville, SC), CBGB’s Gallery (NYC) and Antone’s (Austin, TX), Adoniram’s music brings surpassingly diverse crowds together to enjoy one of Austin’s most unique young musicians.

Although occasionally difficult to pin down, Adoniram's influences are most evident when backed by his touring band Slowtrain with whom he has performed with off and on for over five years. Their sound is reminiscent of the rawest country-rock of the Rolling Stones combined with the musical creativity of The Band and the attention to songwriting detail of folks like Bob Dylan and Neil Young. Adoniram is often compared to singers like David Lowery (Cracker) and Jeff Tweedy (Wilco) but his own voice is unmistakably unique in its own right and at just twenty-four years of age, each year brings new revelations from this rapidly maturing musician.

Much of Adoniram's sound stems from the organic style of recording that he employs. Born partly out of financial necessity and partly out of taste (think Pavement or the Rolling Stones "Sweet Virginia), this lo-fi approach is achieved with a collection of recording equipment acquired over the last decade and set up at Adoniram's creaky floored home in Austin, TX's oldest residential district.

It is here that pre-production is underway on Adoniram's first purely solo effort in three years. Scheduled to be recorded partly at the home studio and in part at one of Austin's many fine recording studios, Slowtrain fans and fans of Adoniram's earlier solo work alike should be pleased with the results. The record will feature a dozen new songs showcasing Adoniram on guitar, piano, and harmonica with a variety of Austin locals fleshing out a full band sound.

In the meantime the day to day process of steadily building a loyal Austin fan base continues. Adoniram is currently rehearsing a new road band for the purposes of promoting his upcoming release. While the band revs up for a spring debut, Adoniram will continue playing regular gigs in Austin and preparing a follow up to this past fall’s successful solo tour.

Find out more about Adoniram and Slowtrain at where Adoniram will be providing regular updates in the weblog section.