The Critical Optimist

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Adam Harkus: This Is Who I am

Today I’d like to take some time away from established artists, and acknowledge the talents of an artist whose noteriety is still in bloom.  Adam Harkus, or “The Blogging Musician” as he is known on wordpress is a writer and musician whose popularity is constantly increasing.  Just recently he reached 1,000 total followers, and is at 1,150 as I write.  His site adamharkus.com is a treasure trove of helpful articles imparting knowledge on things ranging from guitar soloing, video games, and world travels.  By far, the best thing on his site though, is his record, This is Who I Am.

 Better Man kicks off the eight song album.  Beginning with a very 90s-esque chorus laden arpeggio, the song soon escalates to include drums, then harmonic vocals in the chorus.  The guitars get heavier, and the music escalates into an oughtright shredfest.  Making this all the more agreeable is the excellent mixing that goes into these songs.  Drums, vocals, and multiple guitar tracks are all layered together with a remarkable smoothness.  (As I write this, I am no doubt demonstrating my utter lack of experience regarding the recording process.  All my primitive musical mind can come up with is that it sounds good.)

Harkus isn’t all hard-rock and soloing though.  His music also has a softer, more elegant side, which he demonstrates most obviously on You’ll Find A Way.  His copacetic voice serenades the ears to the equally proficient acoustic playing.  It’s this sort of differentiation, I think, that really lends this album its edge.  Harkus is a player capable of wearing many hats, which heightens the listening experience tenfold.

The final track Never Be the Same Again treats the ears to a savory drum intro, that caries on while lightly strummed guitar fades in.  This song features a song that begins tactfully; deliberately; sliding up and down the neck, hammering on, pulling off.  Suddenly Harkus turns it up to eleven and begins finger tapping.  For the uninitiated, this is that thing Eddie Van Halen does on eruption.  In this moment, the album goes from a well crafted, infectious rock vehicle, to a peice of mind blowing work.  I kid you not, my jaw dropped when I listened to the song for the first time.  I hope your’s will too.

Check out Adam’s album here


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