Adam Carroll, Momo's, Wednesday 14
Reviewed by Christopher Hess, Fri., March 16, 2001
Momo's, Wednesday 14
"This is just some guy and a guitar, man," noted the be-capped young tough to his friends as Adam Carroll stepped up to the mike, acoustic guitar and harmonica headgear firmly in place. And whether they or anyone else in the near-capacity crowd at Momo's were there to hear Carroll or the act to follow, the buzz-enabled 54 Seconds of local celeb Spencer Gibb, they didn't leave, and they paid attention. East Texas singer-songwriter Adam Carroll is all about telling stories, and every tune of his set this night pulled the rapt audience along with him, hanging on to the bumper of a dirty old pickup, drinking beer down an East Texas back road late at night. From songs like "Sno Cone Man" and "Home Again" off his latest release, Lookin' Out the Screen Door, to the title track of his first, South of Town, Carroll worked the crowd with his adept lyrical linear narratives and nimble guitar playing. Though it seemed as if he were sprinting through his set at the beginning, perhaps too aware of time constraints, he settled in to the quickened pace as if that's the way the songs are supposed to be. It worked. Carroll plays with time in the manner usually reserved for older, more weather-beaten folkies, adjusting his tale to the mood that's stricken him. This night it was a slightly bemused, completely confident pose with which, in the midst of all the hubbub of the conference's opening night, he kept the whole room hanging on his every line and hooting for more at each tune's last strum. By the time he got to showstopper "Red Bandana Blues," off his first record, it seemed like a hometown crowd, lips moving and toes tapping to the stepped-up cadence and fast-talking delivery, showing that songs about drinking with your friends and the sharp, memorable pain of lost young love can appeal to the most seasoned of industry folk.