A Chat With Nashville Poet and Americana Songwriter Jess Adams & Look At His Newest Single, ‘Still Trying To Figure It Out’

If you’re scouring the Interwebs to read up on local songwriter and poet Jess Adams, you’ll find some intriguing tidbits on how he regards himself and his music.

“Backwoods, front porch debauchery, that sounds like it’s sung by some preachers bastard son who sings with the kind of sadness that you know he’s earned.”

It’s clear Adams is very passionate about his writing, and pours his heart and soul into what he does. This past Friday, Adams released his third single, “Still Trying to Figure It Out,” which will be on his upcoming debut album, “Riverstone,” set to hit streaming services this Valentine’s Day.

Aside from his Poetic Americana music as he brands it, he’s also an avid poet, posting snippets of his work to his many Instagram fans.

We caught up with him and talked about his upcoming releases, along with some fun questions about just who Jess Adams is as an artist and human.

Who: Jess Adams  

What: My new single, “Still Trying to Figure it Out”

When: January 24th, (now out everywhere)

About The Release: “Still Trying To Figure It Out” came as a moment after the storm. The life I thought I was building in NYC suddenly wasn’t on the table anymore, so I set out to find a life of my own. I was working a serving job six nights a week to make enough money to stay on the third floor of a run-down Victorian with no living room in Boston, and I felt like a king. Still, there were some pretty lonely nights where I questioned myself like WTF was I doing? Where was I going? Who was I? When you’re starting to build a life for yourself, at it’s best, it’s in the shadow of the future, and at its hardest, it’s built in the shadow of the past. But it’s both I think. It really depends on the day. I think this song was my way of trying to work that out. I didn’t want to be defined by my past relationship, but I didn’t really know anything else, so I guess I was just trying to come to terms with not knowing. That’s what this song is. My producer Jannek Zechner and I tried to create this feeling of uncertainty with that sort of warped vocoder effect. I dig how it came out.

What’s Next: The whole album, RIVERSTONE, is being released digitally on Valentine’s Day! We’re pretty excited on our end; we’ve been working on this project for a few years now. 

Also, Jannek Zechner and I are working on a new band project/collaborative that’s been so fun to work on and a very cathartic creative outlet for us. Harmonicas, synths, sunglasses, and whatever makes us smile. We should be announcing it come the spring. Until then, shhh.

Artists Influencing Me in 2020: I’m kinda fan-boying over one of my best friends, Candi Carpenter’s new Americana band, “Church of Roswell.” We’re roommates, so I’ve been able to see the magic happen first hand. Keep an eye out for them. But knowing Candi, you’ll be able to hear them coming a mile away. lol

One of my absolute favorite bands out right now is Penny & Sparrow. Not only is their music poetic and ominously beautiful, but their live experience is everything. It’s kind of just two guys standing on stage with a guitar living their best lives, and it will make you feel good about being alive.

Top Three Poets: Andrea Gibson is for sure on the list. Their work is socially conscious and courageously vulnerable. The wordplay just kind of rolls off the tongue.

Jericho Brown’s work always has this feeling of finding something anciently sacred in those little everyday moments- that really vibes with me.

And Rainer Maria Rilke for the same reason but the reverse. lol

If I Could Collaborate With Anybody, It’d Be: I’m really interested in collaborating with visual artists. I think technology today has opened up a whole world of new immersive experiences to us. It kind of feels like the wild west with what you can accomplish with video and VR. It would be really fun to make a musical/virtual experience that felt like living in a piece of art. If there are any VR artists out there, definitely hit me up! 

Favorite Thing About East Nashville: Back porches. This is the first time in my adult life that I’ve had a back porch to string some string lights and just sit and shoot the shit with my friends on. I don’t think there’s any going back now. 

Favorite Food in Nashville: China Bell in Madison. It’s my go-to “I don’t wanna cook” take out place… and I never wanna cook. They know my order and always ask me how my boyfriend is doing. It’s the little things. 😉

Last Movie or TV Show Watched: I’ve been re-watching Penny Dreadful as I fall asleep, and that show gets better and better with every viewing. John Logan is a brilliant writer. The dialog is all gothic prose, but you’d never know it. It’s so smooth and eloquent visually, too.

First Thing I’ll Do When I Hit The Big Time: Roll a fat joint and share it around a bonfire with the people I love. 

Something People Don’t Know About Me: I’m not wearing the same outfit every time you see me. Most days, I wear a “uniform.” I own like 30 of the same black Calvin Klein teeshirt. It helps me simplify my life and the things I care about, like being creative. 

I Define Musical Success As: Being able to sustain a life, however humble, with original creative work that I believe in. 

Closing Words: The end. 

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