|Adam Carpenter (L) and Members of the Upper Hand|
|Dropping May 19th!|
Track 1: About To Shine
No better way to kick off the album than with the upbeat burner featuring Adam's powerful voice and a driving banjo lick. After a long, dark winter, this is the kind of song you want to blast on the car radio as you roll down some back road with the sun in your face and warm April breeze blowing through your hair. Metaphorically, Adam uses the song as a call-to-action to those of us bogged down in the dark and gray and looking forward to better days ahead. "Go ahead, you've got this" Carpenter seems to say, "it's YOUR time to shine".
Track 2: Moving Waters
Adam has been playing this song on acoustic guitar for several years now, and I never could quite connect with it. But in the studio, something magical happened. It could be the dark, smoky and funky bass line; or maybe the soaring late-night blues guitar from Kyle Bledsoe; or even the Hammond B3 organ (Tom Tarkelson) on this track. The song has now evolved into now a groovy, energetic and danceable number evoking the labor and hard work it takes to move on...and why you should do exactly that.
Track 3: Trailers & Tornadoes
Adam co-wrote this song with songwriting partner Bill Arnold, who lives eight hours away in SouthEast Michigan using an old-school technology (there is some debate if this was cell phone, flip phone or old school landline telephone...hell, it might have been by old fashioned US Postal service mail!). Both Bill and Adam have released versions of this song (Bill with his band One Ton Trolley and Adam with the Upper Hand). While the song is the same, the versions have come out totally different feel as they dance around the type of energetic and sometimes toxic relationships between people powerfully and inevitably drawn together and the chaos that ensues around them.
Track 4: Copper Queen
As mentioned above, this is the track that yielded the album title. Written around summer campfire with members of One Ton Trolley and even Adam's fiance (now wife) contributing to the lyrics, this song not only tells the story of those January midnight runs, but about the strength and trust one puts in oneself to boldly forge ahead--sometimes with nothing but faith to have your back. Killer arrangement on this cut including some amazing fiddle work by Blaine McQuinn.
Track 5: Gonna Be Alright
Adam wrote this sweet love song as an ode to his wife, and how their relationship allows them let go of the challenges of their life when together, and how they bring out the best in each other. A beautiful, light and airy guitar part is paired with a mix of dobro (Bill Arnold) and pedal steel guitar (Gerald Kipola) to give this song a ton of soul and character. The best line on the album "you're my hardest goodbye and my favoritest hello, and I know, it's gonna be alright" has extra special meaning to me. In a dark time in my life, Adam sent an acoustic cut of that line to me and got me through a difficult time. The power of music sometimes transcends the human condition and makes us all better that we are alone. This song does that for sure.
Track 6: Waiting for the Thaw
A remastered version of an earlier released song, this ballad of long winters and bad breakups really manages to evoke the loneliness and desperation of of Michigan's long gloomy springs when summer is just a memory and hope becomes harder and harder to find. The killer Baritone guitar part on this song really raises the tension and kicks the song into high gear before resolving into just the barest hint of sunlight and warmth around the corner.
Track 7: Walkin with Bigfoot
This song started out as a novelty throwaway song for Adam's mother-in-law who had an "experience" or "encounter" in the woods one night. Adam was noodling around on it in the studio when bassist Alex Polkinghorne added a crazy, funky, over-driven bass line and Jake Kuhlman contributed a bluesy/loping banjo roll and a instant classic was born! This song is destined to be a staple on Northern Michigan college campuses and around summer campfires for years to come!
Track 8: Answers
This was the only song on the album that I had never heard Adam play before--and it's a great counterpoint to Waiting for the Thaw. Upbeat with just a touch of summer party-pop, the song just oozes an early Jimmy Buffet/Jerry Jeff Walker vibe. It's a country rocker for sure, but close your eyes and you can hear the steel drums and taste the tropical drinks of summer on some nowhere tropical island. This is definitely another top down, sunny day, road trip jam.
Track 9: Own Two Feet
A daddy/daughter wedding dance in 3/4 time, this song is destined to be a wedding DJ classic. The simple, clean lyrics and classic country arrangements (with pedal steel from the legendary Larry Labeck) make this song instantly lovable. It's also important that this song recognizes that our daughters grow up into amazing, strong, brave and talented women.
Track 10: Burn
The album ends with this absolute burner. It starts with a baritone guitar-driven spaghetti-western themed rhythm line and slowly builds (burns?) to an all out countrified rock anthem. Lyrically, this song circles back to the beginning of the album and documents one man's efforts and decisions to take the next step, no matter the consequences.
Adam has included a previously released track UP Life to round out the album. Close your eyes and let him take you down some "backwoods B.F.E." in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. You might even find some surprises and Answers along the way.
|Adam Carpenter (Center) and the Upper Hand|
Adam Carpenter & The Upper Hand are currently booking shows for the 2023 season and beyond. Faith & Fumes will be available on all digital platforms on May 19th, 2023 and can be downloaded from the band website on that date: https://acuh906.com/music. Better yet, go see that band play live and purchase a physical copy of the CD! Also, check out their high quality merchandise. Or just give the band a little "tip" to tell them you like what you here. Every little bit helps.
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