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Michael McAdam

A MILLION MILES • Michael McAdam

Poker-faced sideman extraordinaire lays his artist cards down, full house.

About time. McAdam has been the guitarist of choice for the hip Nashville elite for decades. The list includes Steve Earle, Foster and Lloyd, Leroy Parnell, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Jack Ingram, Greg Trooper, and many others. Maybe it's working with this caliber of artist that makes a less self-promotional and perfectionist veteran reticent or reluctant to tip his own hand. Maybe he finally found the time between gigs.

There are tracks here that reveal a guy I don't even know, and I've known this classic character for ages. "Suzanne" is precious, with legendary bassist Joey Spampinato (NRBQ) and his heavenly wife Kami Lyle on trumpet. The vocal on "Little Things" likewise reveals a naivete and tenderness not commonly associated with a creature of the long and winding road. There are also fantastic cuts like the bookends, "One Good Day" and "Right Before Your Eyes," where the artist's glorious gift for the big guitar sound and rock solid groove rule--I like those equally, so we'll give you a little of each side in the clips.

There's an instrumental (which no axe man's CD is complete without) called "Stratisfaction" that is utterly infectious in that "Lay Down Sally" sense, and a wild take on "The Lion Sleeps Tonight"--they both need to be shopped to the ears searching for the right instrumental pieces for radio and film.

Mike has been getting across the pond to the UK regularly the last few years, touring with Robert Reynolds and Paul Deakin (both of the Mavericks), Kevin Montgomery, and icon Al Perkins. They've been building quite a following over there, and McAdams' songwriter alter ego has found a fresh place to flourish. There are a lot of copies of A Million Miles floating around the rock, but you can get yours at the artist's website, which we recommend highly.  • FG

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