Belle Adair is one of those bands that you want to see so you can turn to your friends a decade from now and say, "Oh yeah, I saw them with 50 other people at JJ’s Bohemia in 2013."
They are that good.
Their music is, for lack of a better word, shimmering. Elements of Americana, folk and ambient music weave together on their debut full-length, "The Brave and the Blue."
Click here to listen to the album.
What: Belle Adair, Futurebirds and The Bohannons
Where: 231 E. M.L. King Blvd.
When: Friday, Sept. 27, 10 p.m.
How much: $5-$10
For more information: Click here
We caught up with Matt Green, songwriter and frontman, who imagined much of the record while living in Muscle Shoals, Ala.
"The Brave and the Blue" is stunning. After listening—and reading countless reviews—the general consensus is that Belle Adair is a band difficult to pin down to a single genre. Were you purposefully trying to buck a trend or just doing your thing?
Well, let me start by saying thanks for the compliment. Our first goal is to make music we'd want to listen to, regardless of genre. I don't think we're purposefully trying to avoid any single genre, but we do try to avoid pigeonholes. I hope most folks who take the time to listen to us don't know exactly where to stick us after the first few spins. I always just say that we're American music. The mixing and matching we try to do is at least part of the beauty of American music, and I hope we fall somewhere under that massive, mysterious umbrella.
The album came out just a few weeks ago. What has surprised you the most from that point to now? Are you satisfied with the reception thus far?
The band is definitely excited about the upcoming tour and the future, but I'm not sure that we're satisfied right now. Some folks have written some nice things about us and the record, and we're definitely happy about it. But we just want to keep working hard, playing more shows, reaching more people. We're a young band with a long way to go.
Such an expansive sound seems difficult to replicate live—especially in a tiny little venue like JJ's Bohemia—how do you make it work? Belle Adair, as a unit, seems as tight as any band.
We tailor our live show to the room and audience and try to be as versatile as possible. We've played JJ's before, and I love playing smaller places where the crowd is literally in your face. We'll probably put on the rock band mask that night. Some nights, though, we need to tone it down, and I'll pick up the acoustic for half the set. It all depends on the setting.
Tell me your perceptions of Chattanooga.
My earliest memories of Chattanooga come from traveling up with my parents when I was much younger. It's only about two and a half hours from the Shoals area. We would hit Lookout Mountain and the aquarium—all of the required spots for youngsters.
The Tennessee River runs through our hometown, so in many ways, it reminds me of a larger version of the Shoals area. Towns built around water have their own energy and uniqueness, and I always feel close to home in those places.
"Belle Adair" is a nod to John Steinbeck's "The Winter of Our Discontent." I was wondering if there were any other literary band names that you left on the table?
None at all. Many years ago, an early configuration of this band was known as "Sorry Saints." Doesn't get much worse than that.
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