When local rock act Eric and the Adams releases its debut CD this weekend, in all likelihood, the only ones to be surprised will be the band members themselves. For local fans (and there are many) a CD release seems only natural. For Eric Himan, Angel Adams and Jimmy Adams, however, it's the culmination of a long year of hard work -- one in which finding the time and finances to release a CD seemed nearly unbelievable.
For Himan, this is nothing new. After all, he's been a full-time musician for roughly a decade now, releasing eight solo discs and carrying a heavy touring schedule as a solo artist through 2008. Nearly two years ago, however, as Himan began to settle into Tulsa, the direction of his music and career started to subtly change.
While performing in Washington D.C. in 2007, Himan met Tulsa musician Kelly Morrison, who was visiting a friend. Once they became acquainted, and Morrison realized Himan was from Tulsa as well, she invited him to look her up when she was playing here in town. When he finally did, Himan sat in with her for a song during an open mic night at River's Edge, where he met brother-sister rhythm section Jimmy and Angel Adams, who were backing Morrison at the time.
Later that year, as Himan looked to book more local gigs in Tulsa, he ran into a little bit of a roadblock when the manager at The Continental shared that he liked Himan's music, but he needed a band to get booked. As a result, Himan called the Adams siblings to back him up and Eric and the Adams was conceived.
Sometime within the past year, however, Himan's songs started to take on a different character: perhaps a bit more edgy and poppy with the band performing together. Part of it was due to Eric's transition to playing more electric guitar, and part of it was due to the band developing a true chemistry.
"It just sounded different," Himan said. "...Still good, just different."
That's when Eric and the Adams truly became a band. It also made the group's moniker seem all the more appropriate. Himan said, and both Adams agreed, "It tied us together as a band, but still allowed us to keep our own identities."
Two years later, what started off as a temporary and perhaps an arrangement of convenience has turned into something that now appears to be far more permanent and one of Tulsa's hottest rising young acts. If you think not, just take a peek at the past year: 6 ABoT Music award nominations (Himan won two: Best Male Vocalist and Best New Artist), a highly lauded DFest showcase, repeat appearances on local television program Up Late with Ben Sumner and more than 100 shows played in 2009 alone.
Yes, it's been a busy year, but things only promise to get busier as they prepare the release of a five-song disc (the first as a group), a coinciding music video shot by Kelly Kerr and Jeremy Charles and a new promotional agreement with Tinderbox Music.
Although the band set a list of goals at the beginning of the year, including trying to release a CD, all three members agreed that they weren't sure how they would be able to pull it all off.
Nevertheless, as December arrives, the band not only has a debut CD in hand, it also has a new HD video (for the single "Every Move") creating a stir both locally and on the Internet.
It's taken a lot of dedication and more hard work behind the scenes than most fans will ever realize for them to get here, but that work is already reaping rewards. A new agreement with Tinderbox Music has all the pieces in place to market the band and its new music to more than 300 college radio stations.
Not to mention, Himan recently scored not one or two, but eight licensing contracts that should land songs from Resonate--his last solo disc--on cable networks E!, Oxygen, MTV and VH1.
As a listener however, the band's debut disc has come as a pleasant surprise. While Himan has always been a strong musician, his solo work consistently fell squarely in the pop and singer/songwriter genres. By building off chemistry with Jimmy and Angel Adams and gaining confidence in his guitar skills, Eric and the Adams has become a completely different creature.
Whereas songs form Resonate would have been more suitable for pop or Adult Contemporary radio, the five songs on the self-titled disc cross genre boundaries and could reasonably land the band on multiple formats. It's a testament to both the bands flexibility and its songwriting prowess. Plus, none of the disc's five songs truly fall flat, and the group crosses between pop, rock and alt-rock and even throws in a touch of blues and soul without tripping over itself.
Lead track "Sugar You Ain't So Sweet" and closing track "Keeper of the Secret" show off the band's rock chops, albeit each in a different manner. Whereas "Sugar..." channels attitude and a touch of Lenny Kravitz and should land spins on KMOD, "Keeper" opens with a bluesy riff and segues into a more soulful delivery.
"Frozen in the Sun" is the obvious runaway pop single of the bunch, while "Every Move" is probably the most logical choice as a lead single and video as it could simultaneously go to pop and alt-rock radio.
In fact, it's rather ironic that the most acoustic and singer/songwriter oriented song of the bunch was actually written by drummer Angel Adams. Its inclusion not only keeps the band's vibe but builds upon Himan's grassroots songwriter background and should draw additional attention at college radio.
Overall, the disc is a great summation of the band.
"It's exciting because it feels like it's a picture of this year in retrospect," Himan said. "We've worked so hard to get this far and put the CD together by the end of the year.
"It's like our first disc is a retrospective, greatest hits of our time together so far."
Even on a Sunday night, the band was hard at work planning out its next move, then taking time to discuss the record, but never lost its sense of humor or camaraderie. They even laughed when discussing how the band worked and acknowledged that each one plays a distinct and different role. Jimmy joked, "Eric's the engine (he does the booking and press), Angel's the transmission (she handles the marketing and graphic design), and I'm the tires -- I put the flyers on all the f***ing telephone poles!"
As 2010 hits, Eric and the Adams will undoubtedly be past putting flyers on telephone poles. With a new disc in hand, a push to college radio and an emphasis on building the band's regional touring, this next year should be even bigger than 2009. For now, however, it's time to enjoy the release of a new disc.
Eric and the Adams CD release party will be held Saturday night, Dec. 5 at Electric Circus (formerly Exit 6C). Tickets are $12 in advance and will include a free copy of the CD at the door. Dante and the Hawks will open the show with an acoustic set at 9pm.
Eric and the Adams will also be taking over Dwelling Spaces earlier that afternoon from noon-2pm with a listening party for the new disc, meeting fans and selling tickets, CDs and the band's new shirts. Stop in and check them out, and see why this year's Best New Artist will be a legitimate threat for Artist of the Year in 2010.
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