Chris and Adam Carroll Make Their Duet Debut with Acoustic ‘Good Farmer’ (ALBUM REVIEW))

Texas singer-songwriter Adam Carroll released his own I Walked in Them Shoes just this past April and many accompanying stories mentioned the chemistry that he, his wife, Chris, have in live performance. Since marrying in 2013, they have been touring together, first as co-headliners, then as a duo. So, this anticipated album is a result of their fans who demanded an album. So, with the help of acclaimed produced Lloyd Maines and engineer Pat Manske, with whom Adam worked with on his solo effort, these ten songs, mostly co-written by Adam and Chris, were recorded mostly in one day last winter to reflect the spirit of their live show. Many are songs they have been performing live for years, and, as such, required little rehearsal.

Chris plays mandolin and guitar while Adam plays rhythm guitar, lead guitar and harmonica with Maines playing an array of stringed instruments, bass, and percussion with Dennis Ludiker on fiddle (Asleep at the Wheel) for “Take Me Away.” “ They begin with an older song, a co-write between Adam and Scott Nolan, “Hi-Fi Love.” The playful nature of the lyrics takes on more focus with the duet voices, Chris singing and Adam offering half-spoken, half-sung lyrics.  The gentle “City by the Sea” is the first co-write but the vocals are all from Chris. The first single and title track is another co-write, a celebration of all the nurturing women Chris has met in her life, inspired by Errol Loudsberry’s (of “Errol’s song fame) top place in the hierarchy of humankind, the “Good Farmer.” Chris has the lead with Adam harmonizing. “Tough as Nails” is Adam’s tribute to Chris as is “Love You Already.”

”Louise” is dedicated to a fan who collected songs about women named “Louise,” claiming more than 250 of them. So, the Carrolls decided to add one to that person’s collection. Here Adam is in lead with Chris harmonizing. “Angel in God’s Country” is a brooding tune, co-written between Chris and Michael O’Connor, with Chris singing about people that have healed from life’s struggles.  The Adam and Chris co-write, “The Old Wilted Rose” is the prototypical Adam story song, replete with Texas imagery. The harmonica-driven Adam original “Ocean of Peace” is about the plight of the veteran – with the line “you can show them an ocean of peace.” The closer, “Take Me Away” was written by Adam and John Evans nearly twenty years ago and first appeared on Hayes Carll’s Little Rock album. This interpretation features Chris ion the lead vocal, playing mandolin alongside Ludiker’s fiddle as Adam harmonizes on the choruses.

This is a relaxed acoustic album, reflective of the chemistry between yet another duo in this year of Americana duos.  Adam Carroll has long been hailed as one of the best songwriters in Texas, with his songs, not his voice being his major calling card.  Chris Carroll’s lovely alto adds texture and color to his writing, especially on the story songs while she proves very capable of carrying a song herself.

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