Photos by: Andrew Kopanski // Article by: Emily Wheeler
Cambridge, MA — Peter Bradley Adams evokes an atmosphere of timeless truth. A prolific storyteller, Adams’ lyrics are simultaneously universal and deeply personal. His charming, understated presence on stage leaves ample room for his stories to saturate the space and sink into the hearts of his audience. But Adams’ lyrics are matched by an incredible ear for harmony, brought to life by his steady fingerpicking on a mid-century Gibson LG-2. The intimate Club Passim provided a perfect venue Adams’ music.
“What’s that instrument he’s playing?” a spectator asks Peter Bradley Adams, as he changes tuning between songs. From behind Adams, the seated musician chimed in: “It’s a lap steel.” The guitar-like instrument Goforth so masterfully plays is arguably one of the most important elements of Adams’ music as represented this evening. Many may be familiar with the sound of the lap steel or its musical cousins, slide guitar and pedal steel from genres such as American Country and Blues. However, Adams utilizes the soulful instrument in a more smooth, sustained manner. A majority of his songs in this show were heightened by the all-consuming ambience of the lap steel. In one instance, Goforth displayed his versatility, playing his lap steel in a more traditional-blues manner in “Gulf Stream Blues.”
In both personality and in timbre, Adams and Goforth make a perfect pair. Their friendly chemistry was quite visible in shared moments of humor between songs, adding a much-needed levity to a night of thoughtful, sombre moments. Musically, the stripped-down ensemble of voice, guitar and lap-steel are so beautifully matched. Adams’ bright, authentic voice plays great contrast against his mellow guitar, and both are beautifully tied together by the completely “other” sound of Goforth’s lap steel.
Adams is currently involved in a multitude of projects, including an upcoming album. You can read more about his current endeavors here.