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Sam Adams’s ‘Can’t Tell You That’

Tuneful, Melancholic-Yet-Soulful Record


Santa Barbara musician, educator, and surfer Sam Adams’s laid-back album features pedal steel guitar and dobro, with exquisite claw-hammer finger styling. Several of his songs embrace the singer/songwriter artistry of folk-music icons Greg Brown and Joni Mitchell — especially on the title track, as well as “California Coast” — while the track “Blue” is reminiscent of Nick Drake’s spectral music. The disc’s sole cover, “Arturo’s Blues,” features some sharp harmonica by the great Tom Ball. On “Adios,” Adams wistfully relates: “Sonora wind burns down the road / The sun drips into a sea of gold / And it’s a bittersweet ‘adios’/ When you touch me like a ghost.” This immensely tuneful, melancholic-yet-soulful record reflects deeply on the remembrance of relationships past and the residual phantoms thereof. 

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