Adrian Mathenia – Better Son
Adrian and I have spent the better part of two years working and recording his debut record, Better Son. Adrian, from Southern Illinois, does a lot of listening, and speaks selectively. But when he sings, he SINGS. It’s compelling. He has a voice that makes you stop to listen – And wonder where he’s been. David Bazan and Jay Farrar come to mind with out being derivative.
Better Son could arguably be called a concept album. The nearly chronological songs tell of Adrian’s self-destructive romances and indignant attitudes toward the faith that would ultimately rescue him. The lyrics range from poignant verses on the attack, to soft-spoken pleads for mercy and a second chance (or third, or fourth). The sound he achieves is clearly based in roots/Americana, but polished with a love for pop music.
The record is sprinkled with Baltimore guests. The always awesome and rather prolific Frank Corl plays drums on all but one track. Christopher DeMeo (Infinite Honey) laid down drums on the last cut, E.Joseph and Paul Mercer played guitars on a few tracks and Ruby Fulton and Andrew Histand (both from We Used To Be Family) played violin and cello, respectively.
Recording-wise many of ribbon mics (close and room) were used to track the initial vocal and acoustic guitar parts. Many of the original scratch takes we recorded in the studio were actually used in the final mixes, as well. It’s more proof that first takes are always quintessential to incredible and heart-felt performances.
This record is very special and hope you check it out. A tour is planned for later this summer and early fall. Below are my two favorite tracks.