When one thinks of the songwriters responsible for chronicling the gorgeous landscapes and oddities of Canadian culture, names like Leonard Cohen and Joni Mitchell come to mind. But with his recent Concertos & Serenades album, Nova Scotia’s Adam Baldwin (best known as the lead guitarist and backing vocalist in Matt Mays’ El Torpedo) is well on his way to earning a spot on that list.
In the tradition of East Coast storytelling, Baldwin chooses to share some of his insights and dreams about the vagabonds, outcasts, and places that haunt his mind and coastal home. The instrumentation is for the most part light—featuring fingerpicked acoustic guitar, Baldwin’s leathered voice, some slide guitar and fiddle.
One of the most memorable tracks on the album is “Gerald Burgess RaceTrack Full Serve Autobody,” a raucous country-rock ode to a very real autobody shop on the coast. “The Voice Of The Eastern Passage (Wayne’s Serenade),” is another, this time acoustic ode, to Wayne Harrett, whose life’s work is dedicated to Seaside FM in Nova Scotia.
“Lighthouse in Little Lorraine,” feels like Baldwin is reciting a campfire beach story while you drink whisky under a coastal moon. Yes, whether or not these stories on Concertos & Serenades are in fact derived from truth matters not. Baldwin’s compelling folk style—singing of legendary small town heroes and meshing them with easy to pick up, pleasing instrumentation, really sticks with you the whole way through.