Every once in a while something comes out of the musical maelstrom that is extraordinary and nothing like you thought it would be – and in this instance, vastly more than the sum of its’ parts.
When you know that a couple of country music’s leading singer-songwriters have an album in the pipeline and you know their work, you automatically presume it will be within certain parameters. We do know their work. It would be impossible not to be familiar with some part of their considerable output of music over a decade plus.
Brooke (McClymont) has two ARIAs for Country Album of the Year (2010 and 2012), Adam’s song ‘Give Her the World’ won the 2015 APRA Award for Country Work of the Year, and between them, they’ve amassed 15 Golden Guitars and seven ARIA Top Ten Country Albums. On the global stage, Brooke was awarded the U.S. Country Music Association Global Artist of the Year in 2011, and Adam won the Country section of the International Songwriting Competition in 2014. Just weeks ago The McClymonts won overall Album of the Year at the 2018 Golden Guitars.
Interestingly, I had previously compiled the story about Tim and Faith’s duets album and for me, that work underlines graphically what is so different about Adam & Brooke. Tim and Faith’s Rest of our Life is largely as you would expect – them both sharing vocals on big bold ballads of escalating velocity – that is what they do.
Whereas the tracks on Adam & Brooke make it obvious from the opening bars that they have been conceived and created to sing to each other, they are built from the ground up as duets, which makes the whole album a cohesive statement. It is raw and raunchy, uninhibited and revelatory, it runs like a movie sequentially with the first few songs introducing the simmer to sizzle trip of attraction, that relationship deepening to coupledom, children, world problems and the never-ending ‘road’ without a banal filler line in the whole record.
It breaks new ‘grown-up’ ground in my opinion, each song builds on the last with finesse and tension and moves both the mood and the story to the next level. It is a body of work in a class all of its own and may well be the best Australian country duets album ever. I can’t think of a better one. It is a treat for the ears – lyrically and in terms of real people making real sounds playing real instruments really well, with no BS bells and whistles!
Speaking with Brooke and Adam, their excitement – and justifiable pride – in Adam & Brooke, the album, is palpable and they speak with one mind and respond in stereo so often it is difficult to assign the quotes to one or the other! It’s also nerve-racking interviewing someone who has the line… I try not to engage in stupid conversations with people who would judge me by my answers – in the track ‘Highway Sky’ – Forewarned is forearmed then!
Adam: It is so good that you tapped into all that. We wanted it to be a lyrical journey. To portray the emotions and paint the stories we tried to feel like we were having a conversation in someone’s kitchen and articulate their story as well as our own. Everyone seems to be doing albums that are made up of tracks designed to fit some preordained template or fashion and cover as many bases as they can to appeal to as broad an audience as possible. That wasn’t what we wanted for this.
…read the rest of the story in Issue 88.