Adam Faucett's New Album Is a Reflection on Mortality

Arkansas musician Adam Faucett.
Arkansas musician Adam Faucett. Adam Faucett

Adam Faucett’s soul-purging songs often reflect his life and the tragedies he’s lived through. He is methodical with his work, both in the time spent writing the music and in the time he allows himself to reflect on it.

As is true for countless artists before him, Faucett’s best work comes from holding a guitar and exploring sounds, textures, themes and his story. The Arkansas musician is a classic singer-songwriter through and through, complete with a voice that jumps from soft and twangy to powerful and authoritative.

On his new record, It Took the Shape of a Bird, Faucett affords himself the space to suffer through the death of loved ones and to reconcile with the matter-of-factness of mortality across ten tracks. He consider it his most personal record to date, calling it “the closest to bone” that he’s hit with his music.

Perhaps that’s from his own maturation, the world and people around him, or some combination of the three. Entering his mid-thirties, Faucett is a seasoned songwriter, and it shows in his control of the music's tone.

“My crew and I have hit that critical age where we’re no longer invincible kids anymore, and the ones who haven’t figured it out are never going to figure it out at this point.”

Faucett sums up the album and his maturation on the track “Pearl," as he quietly sings, “I feel violent, but I’m lettin’ it all go,” before bursting into a howl; the song soars into a gritty Southern-rock jam from there.

Creating It Took the Shape of a Bird was the most deliberate Faucett has been in the writing process, putting all ten tracks he wrote on the record and leaving no leftovers from the studio sessions. Though he doesn’t feel like he necessarily unlocked the secret to songwriting, he does acknowledge that this collection of new songs was strung together to create a single body of work.

“Before I got to the studio, I already knew how [this record] would go and sound. Typically, the recording is kind of stressful for me, particularly because it’s kind of like punching the clock a little bit, having to pay by the hour. There’s a lot of things to figure out in the studio.

“This time, it was pretty much the only time I’ve been in the studio and not freaking out internally. It went down so easy, I was thinking, ‘Man, is it supposed to be this easy, or does that mean this record sucks?’ It just kind of fell into place.”

The album hits familiar places for fans of his previous music, but without diluting its quality — something that seems easier said than done for a musician. Faucett has had the same backing band  for the past eleven years; it's possible that the band’s cohesiveness is the motor that keeps everything humming along without running the risk of repeating earlier work.

“There’s not a whole lot of direction anymore," Faucett says. "We all know what it’s supposed to sound like at this point. When you’ve been playing with somebody for eleven years, if you aren’t able to read each other’s minds a little bit at this point, maybe you aren’t with the right guys.”

Faucett’s singer-songwriter storytelling often toes the line between folk and old-fashioned rock and roll, creating accessible and occasionally moving music. His developed sound fits somewhere near the quirky croon of The Tallest Man on Earth and the guitar and songwriting wizardry of someone like Jonathan Wilson.

click to enlarge Adam Faucett plays with Esmé Patterson and Bellhoss at Syntax Physic Opera on August 23. - ADAM FAUCETT
Adam Faucett plays with Esmé Patterson and Bellhoss at Syntax Physic Opera on August 23.
Adam Faucett
When everything is added up, the big thing that Faucett has going for him is an ability to tell personal stories through his music by attempting to wade through universal themes such as family, death and getting old. While this is no accident, Faucett isn’t the type of songwriter to just plop down with a pen and paper to plot out where he’s going next.

“I feel like there’s been a lot of growth within the band and with me — not only as an artist, but as a person," he says. "Between the last record and the new one, I feel like I’ve matured. You can just tell that a lot of life has been lived between the two. I guess to grow as an artist is to grow as a person.”

Growing as an artist is not necessarily tethered to growing personally for everyone out there, but it is for Faucett, whose music provides an insightful peek into his life.

Adam Faucett, with Esmé Patterson and Bellhoss, Thursday, August 23, Syntax Physic Opera, 554 South Broadway.
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Ben Wiese is a writer in Denver. He covers music for Westword.
Contact: Ben Wiese