Guitarist And Songwriter Adam Shoenfeld Steps Out Front On New Solo Album, All The Birds Sing
Adam Shoenfeld is a songwriter and guitarist who has spent the last two decades bringing his rock leaning guitar sounds to country music, including the last nine years in Tim McGraw’s touring band. He’s recorded on hundreds of country albums and written songs for country artists, but on his debut solo album, All The Birds Sing, his rock ‘n roll soul shines. Practically born with a guitar in his hands, (his parents bought him one before he was five years old) Shoenfeld’s rock influences are apparent on this record. He grew up in Blairstown, New Jersey listening to his parents’ collection of Beates and Stones records, and playing air guitar to Peter Frampton’s, Frampton Comes Alive. Of his day job, Shoenfeld said, “I love getting to play guitar for people and making a living doing that,” he says. “It’s the best job in the world, but I’ve always been an artist at heart.” Experience his artistry on All The Birds Sing, out today via Lozen Entertainment Group/Copperline. Adam Shoenfeld plays Finally Friday From Home today at 12:30pm on 89.5 WMOT.
AnaLee: This album is really wonderful, Adam. There is some seriously rockin’ guitar, some beautifully tender moments and lyrically, it seems to center on family. Can you talk a little about the inspiration for All The Birds Sing?
Adam: Thank you! My family did play a big role in this record. They’re the most important thing in the world to me, and I think the fact that all of these songs are about real life, is why I am so confident to stand behind the whole collection of songs. It may not have happened if the songs weren’t important to me.
AnaLee: The first single, “The Sky is Falling Down” sounds scary from the title, but it sounds more to me like a song of hope. Can you tell us how this song took shape?
Adam: Totally a song of hope. There’s a somewhat hidden background vocal in the last chorus that says, “Look at the good all around you”. It was a message to some friends of mine going through a hard time. No matter how bad the situation is, there’s good waiting for you and you can forgive yourself. That’s what I was trying to say. So, yeah, a song of hope for sure.
The song started on a much lighter note when co-writer Deano Brown (Tim McGraw Fiddle) showed up to write with a recording of his clothes dryer that sounded like a drum loop. The guitar lick came to me, and we were off to the races. Katie helped us find the chorus. Shawn Fichter (Nashville Session and Live Drummer) played drums with me and Jonathan Yudkin’s string arrangement and performance was the icing on the cake.
AnaLee: I love your take on The Beatles, “Norwegian Wood (This Bird Has Flown)” and the more rock vibe you brought to this classic acoustic song. There are lots of layers and sounds going on but it’s not too much. It kind of ties in the album art – the birds are singing and flying in this image! Was that intentional or a happy accident?
Adam: It was a happy accident! I had just gotten a repaired vintage acoustic guitar back from the shop and started playing that song. I started to hear the more upbeat approach in my head and quickly recorded the guitar and drums. It wasn’t until after I chose the song order that I remembered that the proper title included (This Bird Has Flown) in it! A perfect bookend to the record.
AnaLee: Since you got your first guitar as a child, I imagine your guitar collection to be massive! Is that accurate? If so, do you get time to play all of them? Tell us about a couple of your favorites and what you love about them.
Adam: I have somewhere between 40 or 50 I think. They are mostly ”player” guitars, not a ton of collectors grade. My favorite… My 1964 Rickenbacker 330 6-string is probably my favorite right now. Such a useful guitar for anything. From jangly rhythms to awesome solo tones, I love it. Prior to falling in love with the Rick, my “desert island” guitar was my 1965 Gibson Melody Maker.
AnaLee: Your producer is Katie Cook, who is also your wife and a musician who was born into the country music world. She’s also an actor and a host for CMT. Tell us a little about how that dynamic works for you two in the studio and if you plan to release any more music together as your duo project, SunKat. I love your song, “I Miss Tom Petty”.
Adam: It’s an amazing dynamic working with her. She hears things so well. Things I shouldn’t have played and things I should play. She always comes to the table with unique fresh ideas. I could not have done this record without her. We plan on doing some more SunKat stuff shortly. We love being on stage together. It’s pretty much how we both pictured life should be.
AnaLee: Do you have any shows in Nashville coming up and are you planning to be able to tour for this album?
Adam: None are booked at the moment, but there will be shows. We’re currently working on those plans. We did do a couple shows, very under the radar, so I could figure out the best way to represent this music live. I’m really looking forward to doing more…locally and outside of Nashville, I’ll keep everyone that wants to know posted!
Thank you, Ana!!!! The support means more than you know! Hope to meet you in person some time!
“The Sky is Falling Down”