I first met Adam Olmstead over a decade ago in Los Angeles California. Crossing the street after visiting the post office, I heard him playing a Carter family song in the patio area of a Hollywood youth hostile. Hearing this music in Hollywood, after living in Los Angeles for five years, was like a stranded man in the desert finding water. I knew immediately that I had to know him. And get to know him I did—we played a show or two together and I made some recordings of him that I hope one day he will let me release.
One thing that struck me then was his vast almost historical knowledge of old time songs and how that knowledge informs his own songwriting. You can hear it in the two bluegrass albums he recorded with the Nashville Bluegrass Band ( A.G. Olmstead and A.G. Olmstead II) and you can hear it in his latest release Nashville Demos.
His first two releases adhered closely to the bluegrass tradition, but this latest collection of songs reminds me of the songs I heard from him all those years ago—songs standing on a solid traditional foundation but well worn by his own experiences on the road, in the Canadian wilderness, and in the honky-tonks of Nashville.
I hope you get a chance like I did of hearing him play his music. If not, get a copy of his new release Nashville Demos or of A.G. Olmstead or A.G. Olmstead II. It’s like a cool drink of water.