There are a few artists who create such distinct, consistent works that an avid listener sometimes downright craves some time well spent wrapped in their songs. Peter Bradley Adams is one of those artists. Though his style never strays from the formula he has found works for him, that formula consists of consummate, thoughtful songwriting wrapped in superlative, equally thoughtful production (courtesy of Lex Price). And it yields wonderful results, time and again.
His live performances, then, could be considered an immersion therapy, of a sort. Last night at 3rd and Lindsley in Nashville certainly felt that way. Adams — backed by Price on bass, Todd Lombardo on guitar, and Dave Racine on drums — offered up 20 tunes from across his whole discography. On the second song in, guest guitarist Joshua Grange threw down some very sweet licks to round out “I May Not Let Go,” a cut Adams co-wrote with Garrison Starr.
Charming opener Caitlin Canty lent her smoky-lonesome voice to the next batch of tunes, including “Light That Match” from the Adams-Canty duo project Down Like Silver. Lombardo filled “The Mighty Storm” with potency and the crowd applauded the opening strains of long-standing favorites “Los Angeles,” “The Longer I Run,” and “I’ll Forget You” with its driving shuffle marking an energetic high point of the evening.
While Canty took a break, another guest singer, Lera Lynn, reprised the vocal work she contributed to the album version of “Feather in Her Crown.” Adams then worked through stripped down versions of a new song, the tentatively titled “Birmingham,” and “Katy,” from 2011’s Between Us. Canty was back up for a couple more from The Mighty Storm — “Be Still My Heart” and “When the Cold Comes” — before Adams closed the set with a solo take on the tender-hearted “For You.”
For the encore, the crew chose another Down Like Silver cut, the haunting “Wolves,” before pairing down again for the big, quiet finish of “I Cannot Settle Down” with luscious harmonies courtesy of Canty and Molly Parden — an impeccable coda on a splendid set.