Greg Adkins
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Greg Adkins

Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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The best kept secret in music


"Excerpt from feature review"

"Wonderful slices of real life like the folk/rocking "Tattered Old Notebook" and the sweetly nostalgic "Black Keys" combine with songs of spiritual surrender and renewal, ("Are You Out There Tonight", "Heavenly Descent") to propel Adkins near the top rung of the confessional, socially incisive artists that are beginning to make significant inroads in Nashville's inner sanctum. The industry can only become better for it." - Shawn McLaughlin

"Not really a review, but a cool article..."

They toil in anonymity, working their fingertips into callused nubs in pursuit of the right tune. But sometimes the meekest among Knoxville’s singer-songwriters perform in public for applause and cash prizes. The recent New City Café Singer-Songwriter Contest unveiled a few new talents that we’re likely to hear more about.

“The quality of independent singer-songwriters in Knoxville right now is surprisingly high,” says Greg Adkins, who is included in that bunch. Adkins, winner of last year’s contest, served as a judge in the competition with Knoxville’s own Karen Reynolds and Nashville songwriter Andrew Peterson.

Reynolds, who hosts the weekly Writers Block show on WDVX 102.9 FM and the bi-monthly concert series at the station’s Gay Street studio, concurs with Adkins that the talented group made for a tough decision. “I was impressed by the participants overall,” says Reynolds, a seasoned contest judge who has participated in Eddie’s Attic’s famed Shootout, a hot biannual contest held at the club near Atlanta.

Held on two consecutive Thursday nights, the contest narrowed to six finalists: Matt McCoy, Britta Adams, Nancy Haney, Jonathan Snelling, Deborah Tackett, Josh Johnson, Leslie Dudney. Reserved piano player Haney won over the judges with her well-crafted songs and took the $175 first-place prize.

“Her voice is decidedly individual,” says Reynolds. “She has her own unique sound and clearly isn’t trying to mimic anyone else. It’s clear and has a good range, but also she was able to vocally convey the emotion behind the lyrics.” Reynolds encouraged Haney to stick with songwriting and invited her to perform with other locals at the June 10 Homecookin’ Writers Block. “This girl is a diamond waiting to be unroughed.”

Second-place winner Dudney snagged $125 and made the contest a tighter race in Adkins’ estimation.

“I think Nancy ended up winning because her songs had a little more maturity to them, which is probably because Nancy is 30, and I think Leslie is 21 or 22. I can’t wait to hear the songs Leslie writes when she’s 30.” Dudney will play New City on May 28.

Adkins, who will perform with Haney on May 14 at New City, says many of Knoxville’s skilled songwriters go unheralded.

“There are a lot of great writers just below the surface so to speak,” says Adkins, “They don’t have the name recognition of Scott Miller or Jodie Manross or Robinella, but there are people who are every bit as talented.”

- Metro Pulse Magazine

"Press quote"

“My only reservation in recommending Greg Adkins and his music to the wider world is that some label is going to pick him up and lure him away – and Knoxville will lose one of its best and brightest singer-songwriters. Greg has a rare blend of musical maturity, lyrical depth, vocal richness, perspective, humor, and wisdom. New City has enjoyed him for years. I suppose it is high time that we shared him with others. Be ready to be impressed." - Kenny Woodhull, director of operations, New City Cafe, Knoxville, TN.

"Press Quote"

“Greg Adkins knows how to reach an audience. Not only can he pen lyrics with true emotional value without being overly sentimental, he can wrap them in a strong melody that keeps you interested. Mix in his smooth vocals and his easygoing stage presence and you have a really enjoyable listening experience.” - Karen E. Reynolds, Host / Program Director, Writers Block on WDVX Radio.


"Lower than the Angels" (2005) - full length debut
"The Bluegrass Service" (2006) - bluegrass record of spirituals featuring songs by Hank Williams, Bob Dylan, Bill Mallonee, Julie Miller, and Gillian Welch.


Feeling a bit camera shy


Greg Adkins hadn’t written a song in nearly three years and was on the verge of giving up writing altogether when one night while walking his dogs, everything changed. “I was at a crossroads... I knew I needed to either give writing a fair chance and really pour myself into it, or else give it up completely.” said Adkins. “ One night while walking my dogs in the backyard, I had an idea that ended up changing my life.” That idea was to write and record in his home studio one song per week for an entire year. Greg called this project “52 songs in 52 weeks” and launched a website to allow family and friends to track his progress.

“I started in October of 2003 not knowing how in the world I was going to write that many songs in such a short period of time” says Adkins. But write them he did and amazingly, in October of 2004, exactly one year to the day after the first song was posted (Are you Out there Tonight), Greg posted his final song (Song Stuck in Your Head). The result is an impressive collection of material... ranging from full band rockers to quiet piano ballads; from hilarious songs about giant hamburgers and the church of the future, to poignant stories of heartbreak and loss.

The experience gained in that year of intense writing paid off for Greg in 2005. Encouraged by the interest surrounding his “52 songs in 52 weeks” project (over 40,000 hits to the website during that year) Greg decided to take the best songs and go into the recording studio to create his first record. He recruited the help of Nashville musician and producer Andrew Osenga (Caedmon’s Call, The Normals, Lizza Conner) and together, they spent the summer bringing twelve of those songs to life. The result is Greg’s first CD, “Lower than the Angels” which features guest appearances from Andrew Peterson, Aaron Sands (Jars of Clay), Kenny Hutson (Vigilantes of Love), Ben Shive (Andrew Peterson, Dave Barnes), and Marcus Myers (Silers Bald).

To support the release of “Lower than the Angels”, Greg will be touring the Eastern US throughout the fall of 2005 and spring of 2006. “I’ll be traveling both as a solo artist and also with a full band” says Adkins, whose live show is every bit as diverse as his songs. Bouncing back and forth between piano and guitar (and the occasional harmonica, accordion, and hammered dulcimer), Greg’s philosophy is to never give the audience time to catch their breath. “I try to mix things up on stage, keeping in mind that my job is to be more than just a singer or a storyteller... I’m also an entertainer” says Adkins.

Greg lives in Knoxville, Tennessee with his wife Jessica and his son Connor.


Greg beat out 24 of Knoxville’s top songwriters to win the prestigious 2004 New City Café Singer-Songwriter Contest.

Greg has been meaning to enter some other songwriting contests but they're always kind of expensive and there's always that dang electric bill.