Adam Fears – Interview Sept. 17, 2014 For CountryLine Magazine

CountryLine: Hey Adam, how’s it going?

Adam Fears: Hello, going great, I’m driving back to Nashville, just heading home after being on the road for a few days.

CL: Good, well, thanks for taking some time to talk to us today. I mainly wanted to get some background info for the fans that may not know a lot about you, plus talk about your latest CD, ‘Golden Gravel Road’.

AF: Sounds good, yeah that’s the album we are pushing right now. Well, I’m from Whitehouse, Texas and I went to Texas A&M. I started playing guitar when I was about 12 years old, but didn’t get serious about it until I graduated from college. I put a band together and started playing at bars around Texas. We called our band Adam Fears & the Brazos Valley Band. A buddy of mine’s dad had a small plane and he’d fly us around to do radio promo gigs so we really thought we were rock stars. One thing led to another and we made a record and with a prayer and a lot of luck it ended up in Nashville on a music publisher’s desk. They asked if I wanted to come to Nashville and do some songwriting. As luck would have it, I’m still writing for that publishing company today. After I graduated, I moved to Nashville and I’ve been doing it ever since.

CL: I think that’s very interesting that you got your start as a songwriter. A lot of artists start out as performers and then get into songwriting.

AF: It’s like that bumper sticker ‘It all starts with a song.’ It’s a very satisfying experience. You come up with an idea, maybe during a co-writing session or alone. You record it into your phone or write the lyrics down on paper. Then you demo it, then record the finished version for your album or maybe to pitch it to another artist. Then if you get to hear it on the radio, it’s very cool. A song is like a living breathing organism. You just never know how that original thought is going to end up.

CL: How hard is it when you schedule a co-write with someone in advance and then actually write a song on the spot at a certain time?

AF: I spend a lot of time driving so I usually have a full tank of ideas. When you do this for a living you often do a lot of co-writing. I don’t do a lot of writing by myself anymore, so when I get together with the guys I write with, between the two of us we’ll have several song ideas to work with. Once we get a good solid idea we’ll just go from there.

CL: Is there a particular songwriter you really enjoy writing with?

AF: You know, I feel that way with so many of the guys I write with. Songwriters are pretty easy guys to get along with. It’s just really cool working with another writer and then seeing what comes out of the session.

CL: Let’s talk about the ‘Golden Gravel Road’ record and the songwriters you wrote with on it.

AF: There’s 10 songs on the CD and I had a hand in writing 7 of them. I’m not one of those songwriters that has to record all the songs I write. A lot of artists are that way and I don’t have anything against that. I just think it’s good to open yourself up to other writers, because there are so many great songwriters out there. You might miss out on a huge hit or the perfect song for you that was written by someone else.

CL: That’s why George Strait was so successful, he had the ability to find great songs.

AF: Exactly, there’s so much more to making a great album than being able to say you wrote all the songs on it. There’s just so many things to think about when you are recording an album. Like the sequence of the songs, how they flow on the album, do they all fit together, just so many things.

CL: Your album sounds really good, just the way all the songs fit. It reminds me of the classic albums of the 70’s by Willie & Waylon. Every song was a keeper.

AF: Thank you, that’s a great compliment to be mentioned in the same sentence as those two guys.

CL: Were there any songs left over that you really liked but that just didn’t fit on this album?

AF: Yes, there were several that just didn’t fit on this album. It’s not that they weren’t good songs, they just didn’t fit on this album. Maybe they’ll make it on the next album or maybe someone else will want to record them.

CL: You mentioned that you’ve been doing this for almost 10 years, so when you perform a live show, how do you come up with your set list?

AF: It can be hard, but you have to learn to read the crowd. I’m a lead guitar player, so I like to do a rocking in-your-face show. I have a set list that has several options that we can go in. Like if I decide to do a certain song, there are two or three more that will fit well with that song. So we always have several ways to go during our live shows. The key to being a good entertainer is finding the level the crowd is at and being able to get there as quick as you can.

CL: You’ve obviously had a successful career as a songwriter, but as a live performer do you feel like there some goals you are still shooting for?

AF: Well I love being onstage and I love being in front of people. It’s such a cool experience being on stage and looking out at the crowd, whether it’s 10 or 10,000 and having them singing along with a song you wrote. Music is a form of art and when someone tells you that a song affected them in a certain way or helped them deal with something in their life, that’s what inspires you to do this. It what makes you want to go from town to town and play your music.

CL: These days, with all the downloading, file sharing and streaming sites, do find it challenging to still release physical CD’s?

AF: Definitely, the days of selling a lot of CD’s is fading fast. I think we are all just trying to wrap our head around where the business is heading. There’s still the fans that want to have a copy of something they can hold in their hand, some are collecting vinyl again and some just want to download it right into their iPod. The record companies are trying to figure it out too, some are wanting a cut of the publishing or a part of the concerts.

CL: When I look at your CD, it’s obvious it’s a labor of love. The CD has a fold out cover, a cool insert with the song lyrics and a bonus DVD. You definitely give your fans their money’s worth.

AF: I really appreciate you saying that, this record is definitely the most personal thing I’ve done. I’m giving the fans a piece of myself with this one, we didn’t cut any corners, we wanted to do everything right. It’s something I’m really proud of, we didn’t want to release something that just had a couple of good songs and the rest be filler. We took a lot of time getting the liner notes, the DVD, the artwork, everything looking just right. Again, I appreciate you noticing that.

CL: Another thing I really like about your music is that it doesn’t fall into the ‘bro country’ format that seems so popular right now in Nashville.

AF: Exactly, in Texas there is sometimes that ‘Texas vs Nashville’ thing going on. That’s what I tell people when they ask about my music. It’s not Texas music it’s not Nashville music, it’s an Adam Fears record and you either like it or you don’t. I’m not going to put it in a box just to fit a certain group. I’m a songwriter, an entertainer, a guitar player who just happens to be from Texas. I love Texas, I’ll always call Texas home. I’m an Aggie, I mean I’m the biggest fan of Texas you’ll find, but when it comes to my music I want it to best it can be. I want the production, the sound, the music, the songs, everything to best that it can be. That’s what we tried to do on this record and hopefully we got somewhere close to that.

CL: Well, we love what you’re doing, and I know your fans do, so just keep rocking and I hope to see you soon.

AF: You bet, see you soon and if you need anything else, just give me a call. Thanks buddy…

This entry was posted in Interviews, Music News. Bookmark the permalink. Both comments and trackbacks are currently closed.