Adam Klein
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Adam Klein

Athens, Georgia, United States | Established. Jan 01, 2006 | SELF

Athens, Georgia, United States | SELF
Established on Jan, 2006
Band Americana Folk


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Flyin Shoes Review (Sky Blue DeVille)"

[Klein] has embraced the new paradigm of Southern rock trailblazed by the likes of The Drive-by Truckers and Jason Isbell… there’s an almost naive sincerity to his style: no edge, no attitude, just a wide-eyed enthusiasm for all the wonders the world has to offer… Even with his voice at centre stage, Adam and his co-producer Bronson Tew have put everything at the service of making something with atmosphere, and in that they have succeeded wonderfully. A big brass section here, some intense Hammond organ there – it all fits together nicely, and can embrace the sweet, light bounce of “Where Our Love Is” as easily as the swelling drama of “Goodnight Nobody”… an immensely accomplished record, certainly amongst my favourites from this year - John Davy, Flyin Shoes

"Sky Blue DeVille review"

… nine songs of clean, winsome but lonely Americana and country soul… Sky Blue DeVille, at its most tender and honest, reflects the calm genius of Lyle Lovett’s Pontiac. - Andre Gallant, Athens Banner-Herald

"Sky Blue DeVille review"

"Assured and Genuinely Affexting Widescreen Americana"
In a world awash with mediocrity, it is rare to hear an album of genuine originality operating within the very tight focus of generally accepted musical form. This is not the experimenting of Tweedy or indeed the slick production values of the Dawes with their laurel Canyon Nu Americana. This album is absolutely everything that is expected from an American “Americana” album . Wurlitzer, strummed guitars, lyrics about cheap motels, driving in the rain and being stoned in a southern way, Hammond B3 organ, keening fiddles and piano flourishes… Particular highlights are the title track with its beautiful restraint and simultaneous abandon, “In a Southern Way” a gentle lollop through reflections on home and the nature of where home is. Klein’s voice finding emotion without grandstanding, “Highway of Your Love” features some outstanding gospel organ from the legendary Ike Stubblefield. This is a wonderful album that completely reinforces the faith one has in a particular genre. Honesty, strength and musical heft. Great. - Americana UK

"Michael Verity's Americana Minute"

Calls to mind Memphis soul, Elvis Presley, great songwriters like Steve Forbert and Willie Nile, and good old-fashioned American folk. It’s clear that Adam Klein is the real thing and his new record is spot on - Michael Verity, PRX

"Sky Blue DeVille"

The last time we heard from the Athens-based Americana musician Adam Klein, he was promoting a project of original, traditional-style Malian Mande songs performed in the Bambara language, a latter-day Graceland that met the indigenous artists more than halfway. This time around he’s preparing to release a new album, Sky Blue DeVille, a more rocking Americana album featuring a warm, luxurious sound anchored by The Wild Fires’ ace lead guitarist Crash Cason and guest Southern rock legends Randall Bramblett and Ike Stubblefield on organ and keys. Of course, all would be for naught without Klein’s signature evocative, nostalgia-tinged songs and vocals, both of which earn favorable comparisons to contemporaries like Romantica and Josh Ritter. - Columbia Free-Times

"Sky Blue DeVille review"

Does anyone remember when Wilco was a real, dyed-in-the-wool country band? In their first release as a unit, Adam Klein & The Wild Fires come awfully close to invoking some of the early period of the mega-band’s output. Sure, there is certainly less grovel in Klein’s voice than in Tweedy’s, but the songwriting on Sky Blue DeVille (and on the title track in particular) is reminiscent of A.M.- to Summerteeth-era Wilco.
Throughout the record, Klein and company have the wisdom not to over-do anything. This means, among other things, that guitar wizardry takes a backseat to precise playing and carefully crafted vocals. That might sound boring on paper, but the album spotlights a singer-songwriter who knows that restraint is often just as important as showing off one’s instrumental prowess. As a result, listeners might also hear the spirit of Big Star’s Alex Chilton living on in many of these songs. On “Days to Come,” for example, Klein wears his influences on his sleeve by offering soft strumming and earnest, direct lyrics.

Like others in the long tradition of country and Western music, Klein and his band are at their best when they’re waxing about the experience of loneliness. Even a quick listen through Sky Blue DeVille will convince listeners that these genres are exactly where Klein is taking his cues. Although it might buck some of the more traditional instrumentation found on the rest of the album, “Goodnight Nobody” does an excellent job tapping into these feelings with horns and a slick electric guitar. Again, nothing too fancy, but these songs don’t need anything extra to remain excellent - Flagpole Magazine

"Georgia Music Magazine"

Klein’s natural tendency as a songwriter is to lean into the dusty and rustic, playing acoustic country with a folk influence. His 2006 debut Distant Music and 2008 follow-up Western Tales & Trails find a songwriter with an easy grip on storytelling and American traditions... Though Klein may be a fish out of water- or a log in a Malian river- he’s found a way to bridge the inspiration he feels in rural West Africa with the sense of community Athens is known for. - Georgia Music Magazine

"Americana UK (Wounded Electric Youth)"

Wounded Electric Youth is a bold move for Adam Klein. Coming off the back of a more traditional approach to making music, his third album could so easily have alienated his more rootsy following and left him adrift in the choppy waters of the sell out. The fact he went ahead and made it anyway is a credit to him and, thanks in no small part to producer/multi instrumentalist AJ Adams the result is one of the finest albums of the year.

This is a treasure trove of song writing from opening track Drifter where wispy backing vocals really do drift above the intertwining riffs of guitar and organ. Exquisite use of effects never quite cross the line into over indulgence as Klein conjures scenarios of daydreaming and skinny dipping in the sunny south. And almost as an afterthought, the lap steel and ukulele strike you as perfect accompaniments to this new, lusher direction to his sound. Klein displays a sense of subtlety rare in the ego driven world of the modern music scene. This is only partly due to the fact he is master of his own material. He knows exactly what's needed where, when and in what quantity (another nod here to Adams). A good example is Griffin's Song. The effect of simple heartfelt lyrics and tasteful brass is enhanced tenfold when the lead guitar, sax and organ climax before coming slowly in to land right on cue, all masterfully handled. Brass is used to great effect to give just a tiny hint of jazz/blues to proceedings . Any less and it wouldn't provide this effect. Any more and and it would be out of place. And yet there is no sense of it being overly contrived. It's all so natural, as is David Blackman's fiddle on next track Wayward Son which has its roots in country music the way country music was meant to sound. The team of musicians Klein has assembled are all of the very highest calibre. The art of storytelling which was so prominent in Klein's last album “Western Tales and Trails” is again present here and comes to the fore in “Of Pirates and Vagabonds”, while the imagery and colour portrayed throughout the album is a delight. “12th and Porter” brings the album to a close as if at the end of a long, but wholesome journey, and leaves an impression that if musical style and direction is any indication of an artists creative perspective then Adam Klein was in a good place when this record was conceived. Even the melancholy numbers display wry undercurrents of hope and Klein is adept at extracting positive energy from his downbeat side. Classy is the word that springs to mind when listening to Wounded Electric Youth. It is a confident and assured step forward for Klein, not that going sideways would have, in his case, been a bad thing. - Americana UK

"Record Reviews"

Singer-songwriter Adam Klein is an Athens ex-pat who last year returned to the area and his debut album, 'Distant Music', follows a melodic acoustic bent similar to that of Kevn Kinney or New Jersey's Neil Casal. Songs like "St. Paul", "Mississippi Momma"and the swooning, Alex Chilton-esque "Dusty Rose" are a few examples of the album's comfy minimal setup working in Klein's favor. His wavering vocals are always directly in the forefront, the wide-open breathing room filled by pedal steel, fiddle, dobro and hand drums.
Even though Klein's voice somewhat falters (albeit part of 'Distant's' amiable charm) he's nonetheless assembled an engaging debut that's as reliable and uncomplicated as a stout cup of coffee.
It's a fun, unpretentious batch of originals that suits this decade as well as any of the previous four. Klein's already at work on at least one follow-up album, and that's a lucky thing for Athens. - Flagpole Magazine

"Americana UK Review (Western Tales & Trails)"

Compelling stories from a gifted storyteller

The bullfrog told Adam Klein where to find his songs if the sleeve of “Western Tales and Trails” is to be believed. The amphibian in question was descended from the bullfrog who spoke to Townes Van Zandt and its great great grandmother had once been on a date with the bullfrog who had spoken to Neil Young. This bullfrog must have known what he was talking about because with his help Klein has found a rich vein of songwriting material and mined it with extraordinary skill. Klein it seems is a collector of stories, a man who “…listens with his entire body…”, impressively well travelled, a collator of histories and characters and their voices. His sophomore record speaks in all these voices with a sense of great authenticity. It evokes at times the Great Plains, grand open vistas, at other times giving off a strong Laurel Canyon vibe, sweet and good natured. They sit side by side with one never seeming derivative of the other. Neither does it seem Klein is content to simply emulate the sounds and stories that inspired him because his songs are written with great intelligence and insight. “Nomie Wise” is a well worn murder ballad with its perspective shifted to the first person, “Dead Cow Hill” is a spare and stately elegy for Butch and Sundance and “Joni (Corner of a Dark Café)” is the other half of the conversation in Mitchell’s “The Last Time I Saw Richard.” Along the way there are songs of desolation and longing, dancing whores and retold legends. Especially memorable is the shootout among the “Purple Sage”, with its driving rockabilly shuffle and twanging Telecaster. It’s incredible stuff, a distillation of wide and tasteful influences that still manages to speak in its own compelling voice. And these stories, these characters, are all lent the sweetest and shakiest of vocals, recalling Paul Simon but imbued with the wide eyed spirit of Neil Young. Klein has some hefty talent behind him, including alumni of records by Robbie Robertson, The Allman Brothers and John Prine. The most recent addition to the Drive By Truckers, John Neff even lends pedal steel to one track, but it’s Klein’s talent that takes centre stage with his remarkable gift for crafting a song and delivering it with utter conviction. This is music to be celebrated and one gets the impression that the brassy fanfare that closes “Western Tales and Trails” is truly well earned. (9/10 Stars)
-Alex Cleary - Americana UK

"Live Review"

“Up the street at the Flicker Theatre & Bar, Adam Klein is wooing the crowd with his endearing and unassuming sense of humor as he tells tales from his time in the Peace Corps, and his reflections on two years in the wilderness of Mali. There's more to Klein than an interesting face and a great sense of humor, though; his songs are touching and strongly themed, i.e. Mississippi women, Mississippi wine, truck-stop love, etc. Klein works his acoustic guitar backing well, and in true singer-songwriter style, he builds a little percussion in, amongst the delicate picking and sweet strum. The combination of laughs and heartfelt, narrative folk with real stories to tell is a hit. Just to prove his chops, Klein adds a little high-toned harmonica as he sings about the elusiveness of commitment and, of course, the big L. In a song about a girl called Willomene, Klein raises a chuckle from the crowd by vocalizing the parts that a country, or slide, guitar might play if he had another pair of hands or some more backing. Klein's vocals are truly representative of the distinctive form he cuts on the small stage: they may not have classic depth or tone, but they are full of character and provide all the color, longing and subtlety that this performer will ever need. Highly recommended." - Flagpole Magazine

"Glide Magazine"

On Distant Music, Adam Klein plays his role of a singer-songwriter who isn’t quite folk, and isn’t quite, but rather nestled nicely between the two. With the sweet opener, “St. Paul,” he walks that fine line and ends up with a sound resembling Soul Asylum’s Dave Pirner. On the acoustic-laced “Restless Soul” and the barren “Dusty Rose” he works in the vein of Tim Easton or others of that fine ilk.

Klein rarely ventures out of this comfort zone, instead nailing tunes like “Full Moon Night” out of the park with its subtle pedal steel accents. It’s the sort of music you’d hate to hear in a bar because people would be idiotically talking over tunes such as “Visions Of Faith” with its close, hushed feeling running throughout it. The same can be said for “Truck Stop Love,” the somewhat warm and folksy “Walkin’” that shines bright, and the Nebraska-ish album highight, “Bound To Roam.” Distant Music is a great album, but one that will sadly fall under most people’s radar.
- Jason MacNeil

"No Depression Review (Western Tales & Trails)"

"Adam Klein knows a thing or two about the frontier West. His songs – peopled with hard-drinking renegades, black-clad desperadoes, and mysterious women – fall squarely in the storytelling tradition of such gifted writers as Townes Van Zandt and David Olney. Listening to the Athens, Georgia, artist's material is sometimes like stepping into a sepia-toned photograph, or through the swinging doors of a saloon.

What's remarkable is that Klein explores his dusky themes with music that is bathed in sunshine. Fitted with rustic instrumentation – lap steel, fiddle, acoustic guitar, piano – the songs on Western Tales And Trails glow with a subtle incandescence. Their warmth stems in part from Klein's voice, a buoyant tenor that brings to mind a fierier version of Jackson Browne.

High points include "Ruby Darby", a slice of revved-up honky-tonk; "Purple Sage", a rockabilly gem fitted with a folk-pop chorus; and "Dead Cow Hill", a campfire ballad that contemplates the last days of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Several of Athens' finest musicians pitch in – among them roots-rock veteran Randall Bramblett and pedal steel player John Neff – but this is Klein's show all the way."
-Russell Hall - No Depression

"Sign Out! (Distant Music)"

"Klein is exploring standard themes common to most songwriters. However, the fact that his songs are so obviously well-crafted, and the fact that his presentation— an engaging voice and quiet, acoustic country meets early-Dylanesque folk arrangements— ensures that Klein rises above the pack." - Sing Out!

"Performer Magazine"

“.. an album steeped in the cosmic cowboy music of the late 1960s to early 1970s. Think Neil Young’s loping country beat from Harvest and the harmonies of The Band. You can hear familiar echoes of musicians like Woody Guthrie, Guy Clark and Bob Dylan… As with Dylan during his domestic period (1968-74), Klein’s songs reflect a life being lived... one part Planet Waves and one part Travels with Charlie." - Southeast Performer

"Quintessential Americana"

"This is Americana in excelsis… an immensely likeable record on many levels, it distils so much of the ethos of our website that it could be used as a primer for what Americana means to us." - Americana UK

"Adam Klein- Archer's Arrow"

“It was 2013 and, out of nowhere it seemed, Adam Klein produced what became my favourite album of the year– Sky Blue DeVille. Deeply romantic, beautifully produced and boasting some great guitar work, it was an album to lose yourself in, a thread to follow from beginning to end and be glad that you were alive and sentient to appreciate it. Well, 2015 comes along and the boy has done it again; Archer’s Arrow is a little shorter and maybe not quite so coherent in mood, but just as much of a gem as its predecessor… utterly compelling and immediate… One of the great qualities of Sky Blue DeVille was a restraint that kept a tension running throughout; here that tension spills over the edge and the band’s inner rock gods come bursting through – gloriously! Most importantly, the trick achieved on the earlier album has been repeated here; the arrangements and the production make the most of Adam Klein’s singing, which forever has an air of pained yearning about it. This guy is familiar with the dark side of life and love and knows how to evoke it… Adam Klein has produced another collection that is an utter joy to give yourself over to…” - Flyin Shoes


Archer's Arrow- Cowboy Angel Music 027 (2015)

Sky Blue DeVille- Cowboy Angel Music 025 (2013)

Dugu Wolo- Cowboy Angel Music 015 (2012) 

Wounded Electric Youth- Cowboy Angel Music 011 (2010)

Western Tales & Trails- Cowboy Angel Music 003 (2008)

Distant Music- Cowboy Angel Music 001 (2006)



After five albums touching on everything from rustic country to folk, Americana to West African Mande music, Georgia’s Adam Klein remains a songwriter in pursuit- both within and without- of songs and stories, working to fashion tales from and of the wide world. And he’s got a lot of catching up to do. “I seem to be on a two-year plan,” he notes, getting a record out every other year or so. “That’s a fairly slow clip that doesn’t keep up with my writing. I’m sitting on four collections of songs which are basically written and unrecorded.” The prolific Klein chips away at his trove of unreleased material with his newest, and most powerful, raw, and rocking album to date, Archer’s Arrow.

The story begins around 2010, when Klein’s Cowboy Angel Music label released a record by Athens’ pop-rock outfit Nutria’s record. The trade-off was that Nutria would back Klein on an album. By the time they convened to record in drummer Jason Eshelman’s basement studio in the fall of 2011, Nutria had undergone a change of personnel, and Klein brought songs written across continents- in Mali, India, at home in Athens, Georgia- and over the span of a decade.

In three or four sessions, Klein gathered with the remnants of Nutria- Eshelman, Andy Pope (bass), and David Weiglein (electric guitar)- and made short order of recording the songs. The approach was simple and loose- Klein played a song for the band, they ran through it two or three times, and hit record. Typically using the first or second take, Eshelman made quick mixes of the tracks and Klein was out the door with the basics of an album.

Though he heard the makings of a strong album, Klein knew it could sound even better with careful sonic attention. So it sat for nearly three years, an unfinished yet promising project. In the meantime, Klein recorded and released Sky Blue DeVille to great acclaim with a rotating cast of players in his band, The Wild Fires. Finally, in 2014, engineer, producer, and former Wild Fires drummer Bronson Tew returned to Athens to revisit and fine tune Archer’s Arrow.

Tew later brought the songs to Dial Back Sound studio in Water Valley, MS, and further built the tracks. Under Tew’s skillful hands, the collection achieved its warm and layered sonic state. Tew added electric guitar and built three of the songs (“Boybutante Dreams” and closing tracks “Wild Goose Chase” and “Heartbreak Airplane”) along with Jimbo Mathus & the Tri-State Coalition’s Stuart Cole (bass) and Eric Carlton (organ, piano). The result of the cross-state collaboration bridging Athens’ finest purveyors of pop-rock and the tasteful stylings from the Delta in the service of Klein’s folk rock material is the singer/songwriter’s best sounding record.

Archer’s Arrow is a lush, textured collection with thick guitars in the vein of Neil Young with Crazy Horse (compliments of Weiglein and later Tew), organ and pleasing piano, and a steadfast rhythm section balanced by Klein’s signature warm and engaging voice. Some tracks are firmly folk rock in nature and others mark the Americana-leaning troubadour’s assured and welcomed foray into rock n roll.

Here the songs take on a darker lyrical edge, from the taking-stock opener “Song for a New Year” to the blazing end-of-love jam “Burnin’ Love”. And there’s lightness and just plain fun: “Radar Man” is a reworked poem Klein’s grandfather wrote whiling away the time as a radar repair technician in Philippines during World War II, “Boybutante Dreams” imagines the inner turmoil of a man transitioning to being a woman, and “Say You Don’t Love Me” (with what Klein considered a throwaway lyric) is a pop gem too fun to dismiss. It’s fitting for Klein to give a nod to one of his favorite songwriters, Neil Young, on the record, covering the slightly obscure track “Bad Fog of Loneliness”.

Klein’s quiver is full of stories untold and songs unsung. With Archer’s Arrow, he reaches back and sends out an exhilarating musical shot, straight and true, a folk-rock n roll bullseye.


Klein’s music has garnered attention from Paste, No Depression, American Songwriter, Georgia Music, Sing Out!, Flagpole, Stomp & Stammer, and Maverick Magazines, as well as on numerous Americana blogs worldwide. Klein has performed throughout the U.S. and toured in the UK, Ireland, and The Netherlands. He has performed at Folk Alliance, AthFest, Atlanta's Dogwood, Chomp & Stomp, and Summer Shade Festivals, and has shared the stage with a diverse range of acts including Josh Ritter, Kevn Kinney, Shovels & Rope, Robert Ellis, Shawn Mullins, Okkervil River, Steep Canyon Rangers, Joe Pug, and more. 

Klein runs his Cowboy Angel Music label and co-founded and organizes the Athens Americana Music Festival. He performs band shows with The Wild Fires, as a duo (with electric guitar, pedal steel, or fiddle) or solo.

Band Members