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article imageInterview: Adam Zwig tells us all about his first live album Special

By Adrian Peel     Aug 31, 2015 in Music
The American musician has made six studio albums to date and is now entering previously uncharted waters with "Live At The Wiltern Theatre." Digital Journal spoke to him.
July 30 saw the release of Adam Zwig's latest single - the lead off track from his forthcoming album Adam Zwig: Live At The Wiltern Theatre - a spirited cover of Bob Dylan's "Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues." Elmore magazine premiered the song, the first cover version the Oregon-based singer/songwriter has ever officially put out.
Next month the star will launch the above mentioned LP, an 11-track collection produced by David Bianco (known for his work with the likes of Tom Petty and U2), featuring material from his extensive back catalogue.
Unlike others of its type, Live At The Wiltern Theatre is one show, raw and untouched, recorded on one night only, capturing the often unpredictable thrill of the Adam Zwig live experience - as the man himself explains:
"Usually live albums take the best songs from various nights on a tour... We started to do that and then I decided I wanted to just get the vibe of one night - for better or worse, let's see how it comes out. So the songs weren't really chosen for the album; they were the songs we played that night.
"We had a really magical night... Different nights are different depending on the audience and that night there was real communication, a real back-and-forth between the band and the audience.
"We filmed it as well and sometimes if you're being recorded you might be a little aware of that - it might affect what you do - but there was so much going on that we forgot about it and just played our show."
The Album Cover
The Album Cover
Shaunelle Watson
"I'd never done a live album before." continues Adam, revealing what made him decide to do it. "I cut a lot of studio albums and in the studio you have to focus on each part of the song and do the thing over and over again, and I like that because you're kind of crafting the sound...
"But I wanted to try something where the real energy and message of what I do comes across immediately, as opposed to something you've been able to go over and redo and revisit. Like, 'What would happen if we just play?'"
On the welcome inclusion of "Just Like Tom Thumb’s Blues," the singer states, "I'd never recorded a cover tune before and I was listening to some Bob Dylan... I went to sleep that night and that one song kept playing over and over again while I was trying to fall asleep and even in my dreams.
"I woke up the next day and started singing it and playing it on the guitar, but I had a completely different feeling about the energy of the song. He does it in an acoustic, very simple way and I was hearing in my head a live rocking band. So one thing led to the next and I pulled it out at rehearsal and everybody liked it - so we went with it."
Originally constructed in 1931, The Wiltern Theatre is one of L.A.'s most popular venues. "It's amazing," enthuses Adam, expressing his love for the historic site that started out as the Warner Bros. Western Theatre before being rebranded a few years later.
"It's got a really old, Art Deco style and there were about 2,000 people there at the show... Somehow the way it's configured, it feels like an intimate setting - very different from modern venues. It has a lot of vibe and atmosphere and personality to it. Some modern venues are kind of like playing in a big box!"
My pick of the bunch as far as the tracks are concerned is the exquisite "Waiting on Heaven (To Make a Move)" from the artist's 2013 album Visions of the Shimmering Night. Does Zwig have a favourite?
"They were all satisfying, but there's a few things I guess I noticed. 'Once a True Love' I rewrote the verses with different words and a different melody, so that's interesting because it's almost like a new song...
"The thing is that because it's live, there's a lot of jamming and improvisation and it just feels more fluid than a studio recording."
As mentioned at the start the expert entertainer, whose music encompasses a range of different styles, from folk and country to rock and blues, has six studio albums to his name. At present he is hard at work on the seventh.
"It's a departure," says Adam of the new endeavour. "It's a completely orchestral album. I'm used to playing with bass and drums and guitars, and this is all with a quartet. It's my songs with a string quartet and a rhythm section to give it some groove.
"We don't have an exact release date yet... It's gonna be in the New Year because we're gonna be promoting and touring this live album for a while."
Adam Zwig: Live At The Wiltern Theatre, will be available to buy or download from September 25 on Conscious Records.
For more information, visit the artist's official website.
More about adam zwig, JUST LIKE TOM THUMBS BLUES, Live at the Wiltern Theatre, Folk music, Country music
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