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Desert Road

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Album Review

Justin Adams has a fascination with the space of the desert, and on his solo debut, he recreates the feel, openness, and rhythms of the Western Sahara, where it bleeds into Mali, Morocco, and Mauritania. A proponent of the less-is-more school of playing, he inhabits a place where North African, West African, and blues music intertwine and notes bend, hang, and ultimately mix with a late 20th century recording studio, where samples and beats co-exist. The percussion, from longtime collaborator Salah Dawson Miller, fleshes out the bones. Although Adams is very much a player's player, he lets the rawness of style show through, never flashy, always to the point, whether plucking lead lines or fingerpicking, letting his left hand dictate the melodies and rhythms. The overall effect is soothingly hypnotic, as mesmerizing as shifting waves of desert sand. It's beautiful, often eerily bluesy (a nod to Blind Willie Johnson, one of his idols), and evokes the mystery of one of the earth's last great places. A tiny masterpiece.

Customer Reviews

Beautiful Funk

One listen and you will know why Robert Plant picked Justin as a co-writer and vibe maker. Instrumental joy makes you wonder which genre wants to claim this bluesy, African, sould, funk, jazz, other-worldly, earthy, vibrations.


Genre: World

Years Active: '00s

Guitarist/producer and composer Justin Adams is both one of Britain's great bluesmen and African crossover music's leading proponents. First coming to prominence in 1990 with Jah Wobble's Invaders of the Heart, Adams laid the foundations of his career through working as a respected sideman. His list of credits grew to include internationally known artists such as Sinéad O'Connor, Damien Dempsey, and more. His love affair with the music of North Africa first became evident with the release of his...
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Desert Road, Justin Adams
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