Adrienne Young
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Adrienne Young

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The best kept secret in music

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"Nashville Rage"

Adrienne Young
Plow to the End of the Row
Self-released

Although she built a name for herself around these parts as a pop singer, from Big White Undies to Liters of Pop, Adrienne Young's solo debut is an earthy, understated country/folk/bluegrass affair. On Plow to the End of the Row, Young mixes venerated classics like Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down and traditional tunes like Cluck Old Hen and Lonesome Road Blues with her own sturdy originals.

And, though it sounds funny to say this of such a tradition-bent record, it rocks. Young's voice is in fine form, fluid and sweet and expressive, and the songs are written and played with honesty and style. Her recent win of the Chris Austin Songwriting contest at Merlefest 2003 (for Sadie's Song) should be an indication of Young's burgeoning abilities in this field.

Young's approach to traditional roots music ranges from the old-timey to the contemporary, calling to mind the Carter Family on Satan, Your Kingdom Must Come Down and Groundhog, and Uncle Tupelo on Home Remedy and Conestoga.

Whether it's the fiddles and reedy harmonies of Old Crow Medicine Show or the impressive contributions of rockers like Will Kimbrough and Brad Pemberton, Young's accompaniment here is first-rate.

Thoroughly modern Americana tracks like Poison and Home Remedy stand out on this record, both for their strengths and because they don't really fit in very well with all the pickin' and grinnin' going on around them.

Home Remedy is a highlight, reminiscent of the wanderlust of Lone Justice and the sleepwalking cool of Jay Farrar while remaining a purely loveable pop tune. The title track, as well as a rollicking cover of Johnny Cash's Stripes, are particularly notable for their dead-on performances.

Young has produced one hell of a record here, traditional but progressive, well-informed but played with the gleeful intensity of complete innocence.
- Clay Steakley


"The Tennessean"

Adrienne Young
Plow to the End of the Row

Adrienne Young, a Florida native and Belmont University grad, homes in on a profound and personal style on Plow to the End of the Row, her debut solo album.

The row in the title ain't Music Row; the album evokes a sheaf of antique folk music pulled out of grandma's piano bench, a hip east Nashville cafe and an Earth mother's lullaby — all held together with red clay.

The passionate but loose Old Crow Medicine Show is one backing band, while combinations of strong Nashville pop and Americana sidemen make up the others. Music City pop wonder Will Kimbrough, in the producer's chair, contributes some of his signature melodies and songwriting ideas.

There are almost too many stylistic ideas at once here, but Young's kindly singing personality and spot-on ear for enjoyable country/folk finally hold the album together with compassion and imagination. Young does not waste any time trying to grab you with an outspoken personality. ''I am a white girl; what was I before?'' she sings at the top of opening cut I Cannot Justify. This sudden leap into race consciousness and reincarnation is both brave and abrasive, but the song holds its own.

Sadie's Song, which won Merlefest's bluegrass songwriting competition, retells a famous folk ballad from the female character's point of view with real vitality and novelty. Home Remedy is perhaps the catchiest pop song.

There are also fiddle and banjo instrumentals, some reworked traditional numbers and more arresting songs from Young and co-writers such as Mark D. Sanders and Carter Wood. The songs don't always achieve their lofty aspirations of American introspection, but Young does a striking job reaching as far as she does.
- Craig Havighurst


Discography

Plow to the End of the Row (debut album)

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Adrienne Young with Will Kimbrough, Ketcham Secor, Old Crow Medicine Show

Adrienne Young, a seventh generation Floridian, homes in on a profound and personal style on Plow to the End of the Row, her debut solo album.

The row in the title ain't Music Row; the album evokes a sheaf of antique folk music pulled out of grandma's piano bench, a hip east Nashville cafe and an Earth mother's lullaby — all held together with red clay.

Craig Havighurst, The Tennessean, June 16, 2003

Adrienne Young has emerged with a new crop of songs from her record, Plow to the End of the Row. This americana singer/songwriter has a disarming appeal that crosses generations. Her songs hold enough old-timey and bluegrass influence to make traditionalists nod with approval while still incorporating a healthy measure of youthful edge.

Adrienne won the bluegrass category of the Chris Austin Songwriting Competition at Merlefest in April 2003 with 'Sadie's Song.' Go to song samples to hear it!

Adrienne's Note:

This record made itself. It is the culmination of numerous collaborations with the most profoundly talented folks I know. They have influenced me greatly and taken me to places I never would have reached on my own.

Will Kimbrough, an acclaimed musician both locally and nationally, co-wrote and co-produced many of the tracks on this album. It had always been a dream of mine to work with Will, whose solo efforts stand tall as oak and sweet as magnolia.

Ketch Secor, my teacher and friend, contributed untold amounts of inspiration to this project, as well as some mighty fine fiddle and banjo playing. In addition, I had the unparalleled honor of singing and playing the banjo with him and the boys in Old Crow Medicine Show which, besides being my favorite band, is the rollicking bunch you can hear on most of the traditionals we recorded.

Other familiar faces include: Mark D. Sanders, Todd Snider, Dave Rowe, David Henry, Carter Wood, Alice Randell, Courtney Little, and many, many, many more.

These are my pieces of straw in a great haystack. Traditional songs of original American music. A melodic living history we can all share in. Thank you.