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In a city filled with country cowboys and sit-on-a-stool songwriters, Adrian + Meredith make a different sort of roots racket. More Than A Little, the pair's debut, finds the East Nashville-based duo putting its own spin on Americana music, roughing up the genre's edges with the rule-breaking spirit of punk, the vintage twang of old-timey folk, the sneer of rock & roll, and even the frenetic bounce of early Swing and jazz manouche.
More Than A Little brings together two performers who grew up on opposite ends of the musical spectrum. Before meeting his future wife at a show in Washington, DC, Detroit-born Adrian was raised on rock and punk, with a carnival barker's croon and an off-the-wall "clawhammer banjo" approach to playing the acoustic guitar. Meanwhile, Meredith was an Ann Arbor native who cut her teeth in the old-time music scene, where she played traditional fiddle and clogged. Those two approaches come together with Adrian + Meredith, a project that honors the traditions of Folk and Americana music while pushing beyond those genres' boundaries. Produced in East Nashville by Mark Robertson, More Than A Little is being released in part via an innovative partnership with Daniel Lanois' streaming company, UpRise.FM.
Adrian was already 10 years into an acclaimed solo career when Meredith made a guest appearance on his 2014 release, Roam. Since then, the pair's partnership has grown into a full-time collaboration, with the two swapping harmonies, trading solos, and acting as co-pilots throughout their debut album. Returning from Adrian's previous record is five-year bandmate Paul Niehaus on pedal steel, while JD Wilkes of the Legendary Shack Shakers and Fats Kaplin of Jack White's touring band make guest appearances.
The result is a record influenced by the group's time on tour, with songs that celebrate the joy of hitting the highway with your romantic partner ("Birthday Cakes," "Old Midwestern Home"), and examine the darker corners of an entertainment industry that's rarely, if ever, fair ("Bank," "Fixer"). Equal parts defiant and driving, More Than A Little is a rallying cry from two road warriors who, after more than a dozen combined years in the music business, are too smart to play by the industry's rules and too enthralled to turn their backs. It's a love letter to a New Nashville and a call to arms for independent artists with true vision.
It might seem incongruous that the most intimate songs that flow from the heart and pen of a skilled songwriter are also sometimes the most deeply relatable to many who hear said songs, but that is the sonic sweet spot in which Kyle Cox practices his craft. The hoops- and hooks-loving (basketball and catchy songs, respectively), Nashville-based Cox, who recently signed a label/management deal with Rock Ridge Music, will consummate the partnership with the June 3, 2016 release of his five-song EP, Trio and Friends.
Cox has traversed many miles and musical styles before landing in the sweet spot in life he currently finds himself in. He recalls his first musical enlightenment being the first time he discovered his father’s copy of Pink Floyd’s The Dark Side of the Moon album when we he was about 11 years old. “I especially was drawn to David Gilmour’s guitar playing, and so at the time I was like, ‘I wanna be a lead guitar player.’’ Later, his uncle introduced him to the aforementioned Prine, which was “the second (aha) moment where I was just like, ‘Oh, wow, okay, this is actually what I wanna do.”
Now firmly pledged to the historic fraternity of Nashville songwriters, Kyle Cox has the tools at his disposal to build a solid bridge that leads to a long career. And it all begins and ends with just one thing: the song. When asked to describe the feeling he gets when he finishes writing a song and he can say to himself, “That’s it! I got it!,” Cox doesn’t hesitate for a second to respond, “Oh dude, that’s the best feeling in the world. I love it, man!”