Being a California native myself, I feel that I am just naturally drawn to good ol rock n’ roll. I am an electro head through and through but there’s something really nice about listening to some easy bands that make simple music using natural, classic instruments.
Take Adam McFarland for example. Born in San Francisco and raised in southern California growing “up by the beach, surfing and playing my guitar.” Reading McFarland’s biography makes me want to picture a Jason Mraz type with cargo shorts and a straw fedora. And some of the tracks on his first solo album Exit reassure this imagery (listen to “Life is Good” and “Better Than Lies” for examples). But some songs suggest otherwise. McFarland spent time in Costa Rica (“Toy Soldier”) and New York City (“Clown,” “Shameless”) and “used to dangle my feet out of my seventh story window and write songs in my journal in the shadow of the World Trade Center.”
It all sounds very romantic. He traveled the world with his guitar and surfboard in hand and says he met incredible people along the way. McFarland tried to settle down and get a real job and a real wife “but that job and wife have since long gone.” Moving back to Los Angeles, McFarland rediscovered more of his creative side performing in bands and working in studios and even opened his own.
Exit is quite a romantic album too. It’s only fitting that this first solo adventure would reflect his own solo experiences. “All of the songs have some kind of meaning or message and all are based on my experiences over the last 30 years or so,” says McFarland.
“Tell Me Polite” is an interesting track that tops all of the others for me because of the mixed emotions hidden within the lyrics and the melody. The upbeat nature of the song suggests exactly that: an upbeat feeling. But the lyrics say otherwise. McFarland talks of waiting for someone, sitting until they return because they’re worth it. This seems melancholic, sentimental and beautiful.
McFarland’s songs are like reading his diary with a dabble of NYC gloom and California sunshine. The contrast is nice, like looking at a black and white photograph; feeling the ups and downs of one human being.
“I like music that is personal this way and I try to let my music follow the times but I also try to maintain a sort of timelessness in the lyrics and arrangements.” I think McFarland achieved just that with Exit.
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