Kris Adams
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Kris Adams


Band Folk Singer/Songwriter


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"Songwriting Winner From Cross Plains"

Kris Adams never expected to win Madison's biggest and most prestigious songwriting contest. The Cross Plains folk singer knew many other entrants and their material and she didn't think she ranked among them.
But Adams, 30, wrote one gem, a 3 1/2-minute marvel called "Small Moments."

And that's what three show-business industry judges liked best among the 200 tunes entered in the second-annual Madison Songwriters Group competition. As a result, Adams -- a fan of other MSG members who encouraged her to develop "Small Moments" -- won the contest's $500 grand prize.

"It's a great privilege to be in their league," Adams said. "I was absolutely surprised and delighted to win."

"Small Moments" stood out among MSG's 19-song compilation CD last year. Its thoughtful lyrics come with tender vocals and a soft, acoustic presentation.
The lyrics, Adams said, "consider the subliminal messages that our culture passes down to youth. But you can become aware of yourself and be stronger than any negative message you might receive."

And it's a catchy tune. "That helps, too," Adams said with a laugh.

Adams is an educational assistant for special education at Oregon High School. She performs on occasion, including an upcoming gig as "special guest" at MSG's monthly Songwriters in the Round show at 7 p.m. Tuesday in The Casbah Restaurant, 119 E. Main.

Her most nerve-wrecking appearance, Adams said, was performing for English classes at Oregon High School.

"I played before these teen-agers," she said, "but they were very gracious and attentive. They seemed to enjoy it."

Adams' "Small Moments" is on MSG's compilation called "Made at Home." For information about MSG, which formed in 1999, or the CD, check online at

\ Songwriter winners

The Madison Songwriters Group's announced winners, decided by independent judges, recently.

Nearly all of the 200 entries came from Wisconsin songwriters, although state residency or MSG membership was not required.

Grand prize ($500)

"Small Moments," Kris Adams, Cross Plains


1) "Gypsy," Chris Wagoner, Sun Prairie

2) "Hangin' on a Line," Thomas Burns, Mt. Horeb

3) "Date with an Angel," Dan Kennedy, Wauwatosa

Honorable mention: "Gospel Accordin' to the Blues," Catfish Stephenson, Madison; "Once She Gets Organized," Lynn Smith, Madison.


1) "For Cory's Sake," Erik Richardson, Madison

2) "Do You Wanna Know," Jim Ness, Oregon

3) "Hitchhiker," Ken Jackson, Madison

Honorable mention: "How Close," Ron Vogel, Verona; "Strangely Enough," Mark Croft, Madison


1) "If You Were A Frog," Biff Blumfumgagnge, Madison

2) "You Cezanne," Greg Percy, Monona

3) "First Christmas Without You," Jim Ness, Oregon

Honorable mention: "Junk Food Life," Lynn Smith, Madison; "Your Father's Underwear," Doug Hamilton, Madison


1) "She's A Landslide," Mark Croft, Madison

2) "Rideaway," Aaron Nathans, Madison

3) "Big Brown Brick Buildings," Jace Nichols, Oregon

Honorable mention: "No One Can Love You," Mary Gaines, Sun Prairie; "Enough," Amy Curl, Monona


1) "The Sermon on the Mount," Jonathan Stafstrom, Madison

2) "Shine Your Star," Jim Ness, Oregon

3) "Grace of You," Len Mormino, Middleton

Honorable mention: "Then Suddenly," Chuck Ruhland, Plain; "Four Miles South of Kitty Hawk," Michael Hoel, DeForest


1) "When Everything Falls," Thomas Burns, Mt. Horeb

2) "You're Just A Cloud," Tracy Koeller, Madison

3) "Don't Know What You Missed," Kelsy Boyd, Cottage Grove

Honorable mention: "Cheepa Ta Keepa," Tom Wakely, Minneapolis; "Cowboy Jamboree," Darrell Ree, Janesville


1) "Small Moments," Kris Adams, Cross Plains

2) "The Highway," Mark Croft, Madison

3) "Indiana Radio," Aaron Nathans, Madison

Honorable mention: "Jehovah's Goodbye," Dale Kidd, Mt. Horeb; "Sweet Melissa," John Norland, Edgerton
- Wisconsin State Journal

"Small Moments CD Review"

This is a gem of a little disc, a solo acoustic EP with four songs. You've likely already heard "Small Moments," the song that won the big prize at this year's Madison Songwriters Contest. This EP shows the song was not a one-off fluke. It showcases Adams' sultry melodies, lyrics that go deep, and a voice with the unique combination of sounding sexy yet innocent, world-worn yet sweet. And then there's that unique sound of her classical guitar played for folk. You might already own the MSG compilation disc, but if you haven't heard the song, "Henry," you haven't yet heard Kris Adams. - The B-Side


2004, Small Moments EP



Kris Adams writes and performs warm, whimsical folk-rock with a funky edge. Deeply meditative and playfully unadorned, her songwriting has been lauded as “beautiful in its simplicity.” She is a two-time finalist and 2004 Grand Prize winner of the Midwest Song Contest and 2005 recipient of the highly acclaimed Artist Fellowship for Music Composition awarded by the Wisconsin Arts Board.

Inspired by a natural talent to paint impressions through words and melodies, her authentic, straightforward style evokes a wide spectrum of emotion, often bringing listeners from laughter to tears.

Though she didn't pick up a guitar until her twenties, Kris spent years practicing the art of writing, honing her performance skills at open mics and poetry slams. She brought this love for the written word into her songwriting, bringing together her two greatest passions: words and music.

At age 19, she left college and spent time traveling and following the Grateful Dead, eventually moving to Colorado. She spent five years living, learning and working in Fort Collins, near the foothills of the Rockies, where her love affair with music really took off. "Everyone I knew was so completely into music: particularly bootlegs and live shows. Though I didn't play music at the time, I started hanging around people that were passionate music lovers. I got into jammy noodle music like Phish and the Dead, and bluegrass, blues, funk and hip hop. My friends and I were always looking for live shows to see, always had music on wherever we were." It was through listening that she came to understand "music can be a powerful force of spontaneous creation that reconnects us to what is essential and valuable in each of us."

As she began performing at festivals, clubs and coffeehouses throughout the Midwest, audiences told her that her music had the power to turn a bad day into a good one. “That is success to me,” Kris says, “to draw out emotion in the listener, to get them to feel something or remember some part of themselves that maybe they had forgotten.”

In 2003, Kris released her debut EP, a heartfelt, intimate acoustic rendering of four original songs including “Small Moments.” This award-winning song was additionally selected to be on the 2003 MSG Compilation, Made At Home. She was again chosen as a featured artist on the 2005 Compilation CD Made at Home II for the tender, soulful ballad, “Henry.” Influenced by showtunes, blues, funk, 80's pop, and folk, Kris’ eclectic sound draws from many genres to create a bright, memorable and unique acoustic experience.

Kris is currently in production on her first full length album, set to release this summer. Her original songs cover topics ranging from a quest for self-discovery (“Satisfaction Guaranteed”) to a warm and funny take on the relationship between the human and the divine (“Mount Olympus”).